Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The So-Called Goodwill Advertisements

Don’t you just hate listening to goodwill advertisements of various politicians who are obviously going to run for the next presidential post? They are slowly easing their names, their causes and their achievements through these highly scripted commercials. They're reaching out to people who are mostly smart enough to realize that this is one of campaigning strategies being adapted today. Ugh.

These politicians, who have montages in commercials, say that it’s not a form of advertisement. Those are public service commercials of course, to let people know how to contact you and trust you. Public service? But of course, some are even coy enough to deny their desire to run until the day they file for candidacy. But at the end of it all, those who advertise will run anyways. I bet on it.

May it be print ads, commercials or radio announcements, some major politicians who have dreams of becoming the next president, strongly make it known to the whole world of what they believe in and what causes they are fighting for. They do it by reaching out to people, not only through careful and positive advertisements, but by presenting hotline numbers, websites on how to reach them. Knights in shining armors we thought we never had. But those politicians who have never been eyed to run for highest post, nor were their heads within the radar of political movements, remain quiet and low profile. No commercials, nothing grand. You would never or seldom see them on TV unless if it’s an official hearing. What gives for those politicians who advertise?

I’m not against advertising. Hell, that is needed to reach out to people to make the right choice, but I do hope they do it right and not mislead people with their grandeur...scripted grandeur. I hope they would stop insulting the Filipino people by putting out advertisements of goodwill when we can clearly see the vetted self interests behind it. If they're going to advertise, there's a time line and everyone should be able to follow and not the get ahead just because you're rich or the camera loves you. There’s something really wrong if their goodwill stellar performances are unknown beyond the realm of TV, don't you think? I do hope their advertisements really mirror what’s happening in reality, otherwise our politics have been deduced to shows and funny commercials in between.

The Possible Contenders - Survey Says

Surveys give us stronger pictures of the proposed trend. It may not be 100% reliable because there are various factors that we need to consider:

1) Availability of information to make an accurate decision
2) People’s preferences change most of the times
3) A person’s background and general knowledge
4) Bogus survey execution.

But given time and experience, Surveys give us a certain area of foresight. If results are taken collectively it prepares and explains the given trend or subject.

Take for example the Presidential Elections that we all like to get through peacefully. Almost everyone’s anticipating it as we've been hearing goodwill advertisements left and right. At this point, we already have our own preferences (vague as it seems) and we still have yet to hear from other aspiring candidates. It’s hard at this point because we still don’t know who are officially running with whom, yet the signs are everywhere. It’s nice to be prepared of the inevitable. Surveys help prepare the public to weigh out their votes at the same time how surveys also help the would-be candidates to view their present standing, whether it’s profitable for them to run at all.

Here are the results of the situational surveys printed in Manila times:


Vice President Noli De Castro
Senator Manuel Villar Jr.
Senator Loren Legarda and
Senator Chiz Escudero.


Vice President De Castro
Senator Manuel Villar
Senator Loren Legarda
Senator Chiz Escudero

Results were based on the February 2009 surveys, the most recent.

According to the results, some candidates lost points while other gained. Trailing behind the magic 4 are Senator Manuel Roxas, Senator Ping Lacson and former President Joseph Estrada.

Would-Be candidates may lie heavily on this survey, while the public may be prepared to cast their choices on the strong selected few. Until the official lists of candidates come out, I believe we are seeing a trend here.

SWS conducted a face to face interview during February 20-23 of 1,200 adults divided in random samples of 300 each in metro Manila, the balance of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. This is not commissioned by anyone, just a direct “public service” for the undecided few.

My Super Sunday

I forgot to share that I had a glorious and productive Sunday last weekend that left me feeling happy till the moment I fell asleep. The difference of my recent Sunday compared to my usual Sundays is glaring I’m used to having the day’s steady flow, which means uneventful, chill, quiet, usually spent in front of the computer, catching up on reading and blending with the environment in the hopes of recharging for the next work week. My Sunday is usually spent at home doing lazy things, going to mass with family and having dinner with them. The only variety comes from Mitch’s random visits, again doing nothing, or an occasional coffee invite in our nearby village. Anything beyond that would be a party.

Apparently that was what happened last weekend. First, for some reason, I woke up light. I had a complete 8 hours of good sleep and had a great breakfast of freshly cooked corn with melting butter. After that, I had a call from Mitch telling him that he would pass by before lunch before he gets his computer from Greenhills. While I was on my way to take a bath, my mother was in a giddy mood. Her personality is not like that at all. It’s either something’s gone completely wrong or completely right. More than anything, I was amused. She wanted me to search for possible resorts for our upcoming trip to Bohol this weekend, a mini detour from our Cebu Trip. Blame it on endorphins or wild imagination, but I instantly became energized and giddy too. I searched and made her view the resorts that I think are the best in Bohol.

I left her to her own surfing, took a bath and was so giddy to invite my brother to join me for a lunch out. My brother, who never really comes with me on his own free will unless I present an additional bribe, greatly obliged only if we eat at his favorite, Sinangag Express. Good choice. Cheap and fulfilling.

After my bathing regimen I met Mitch and played with Harvey. While we were talking about our upcoming summer trips, I realized that I have to save up for pocket money. Since I’ve just recently settled all hotel and transportation expenses, my other credit card expenses and additional bills, I realized that I’m left with 0 amount of moolah for other expenses. I quickly got my calendar and mentally financed my two remaining paydays to squeeze in my three trips worth of pocket money. Having bombarded myself with figures, I bade goodbye to Mitch and took my brother out for lunch.

My brother, aside from Mitch, is one of my regular food buddies. It’s not a secret that I love to treat people with food. I just love to dine out and seriously all my money and added fat are attributed to this one luxury that I have. After lunch, I dragged him to the nearby coffee shop to have dessert. That move was already premeditated since Mitch and I had coffee there the previous night after his mom stuffed us with wonderfully cooked spicy tuna pasta and taco salad for Saturday’s dinner. I vowed that I would try the banana crepe with ice cream soon, and that “soon” was the day the after.

My brother ended up ordering for a Frappe, which ended up disappointing him. The fool thinks that all Frappe would taste like Starbuck’s, so he ended up sharing the huge serving of banana crepe with me instead.

After the quick dessert fix, we decided to go home. And on our way home we passed by a relatively new establishment called DOG HOUSE. I’ve planned on checking the place out months before but didn’t have the time or the chance. Since Harvey, my JRT pup, has already completed his vet visits, there is on reason for me to bring him to clinics and pet stores. He doesn’t need extensive grooming and he happily chews and plays everything that I give him. For a dog, he’s very less maintenance, which I like. However, ever since I started owning dogs, aside from Bookstores, appliance stores and groceries, I find myself treading towards pet stores in malls and anywhere at random. I like looking at dogs that are about to have a new home, that’s one. Second, I like to tinker and canvass at other dog products and get amazed how complicated and how diverse their needs are. Third, I like to see dogs with their owners shop and get groomed. These particular interests I think come with having a dog. Well, at least in my case.

My brother and I entered Dog House and saw a couple of dogs being groomed with full equipment. I saw gourmet foods and other products that Harvey would definitely like. Endorphins shot up and I urged JD to go home with me to get Harvey. Upon reaching home, after a couple of hours, my mother was still possessed by internet, as JD, my aunt and I, got in the car with Harvey. We decided to pass by the nearby wet market to buy a couple of hard to find ingredients for “ginataan.” After that we treaded towards Dog House to get Harvey’s nails cut (a must!) and his ears cleaned.

I was supposed to bring my camera to capture the moment, but forgot, and just loaded the memory of Harvey squirming like a piglet trying to get loose. Even though he’s not biting nor barking, he gets so squirmy that he tends to drive the groomers crazy with his antics. But when they got to his ears, he calmed down and watched TV instead. For a clean nail cut and ears cleaning, I paid 100 bucks for it, and added a meat stick for his treat. I paid 135 pesos for everything, which is essentially within budget.

After the quick pet trip, Mitch informed me that he got a router from Greenhills and he would drop by the house to install it. Finally, I said. That has been planned for so long and we just didn’t have the time and initiative to prioritize it. Upon seeing my mother who was still entranced at the resorts after roughly 4 hours of surfing, Mitch arrived and quickly set up the router for our immediate use. Another accomplished task for all of us.

After an hour, we went to mass and ate dinner at Omakase in Alabang, much to my sister’s prodding and harassing. I stuffed myself silly with their usual Spicy tuna salad, American Dream and Sensui Bento, which I shared with my mom. This restaurant guarantees a euphoric experience. After that, we quickly went to Starbucks, and thank god I wasn’t driving back home. I would’ve easily fallen asleep with a heavy stomach.

On our way home, I decided to be dropped off at a Friend’s house to have a quick chat and R&R. We randomly planned our vacations and we’re excited on the upcoming developments. After the visit, she dropped me home at around 10 in the evening and I tested the router googling conveniently with Harriet in my brother’s room. My mother informed me that our reservation’s been confirmed in one of the swankiest and funky boutique hotels in Bohol. Thank god, she picked the right one. Although the hotel is not quite new to me since Bags and I already went there before, but I wouldn’t have any other accommodations. The luxurious interiors with profound earthy characters that boast tranquility and privacy closed the deal for me. That I would discuss once April sets in, that belongs to the travel blog edition. With the effect of intense carbo overload from sushis and maki’s I had for dinner, I decided to postpone blogging for that night to make way to a take on blissful sleep.


This was supposed to be posted two weeks ago, when the feeling and reaction was raw. Reading it again in my files before posting, unfortunately, nothing's changed.

March 17, 2009

The first time I heard Josef Fritzl’s case in 2008, I became sick to my stomach. I couldn’t imagine a 74 year old man locked her daughter in a cellar for 24 years, raping her 3000 times and fathering seven of her children. Actually I imagined it that’s why I have a sickening feeling in my stomach in the first place.

What a psychotic, unforgiving, close-to-a-monster, deluded individual that Josef Fritzl is. His type makes death penalty so worth it. There is no valid explanation or justification of what he did to his own daughter. He broke all moral rules and most importantly he destroyed his daughter’s life. I seriously hope he would pay for the things that he did if not in this life, but in the after life.

I hate to literally hate people to the bones. It’s not healthy and it stirs up negative emotions. But how can I find meaning and justification from this? How can I ever forgive Josef Fritzl as a daughter and as a human being?

This is upsetting. I just hope he gets maximum life. I wouldn’t be surprised if he even gets death penalty. I sometimes feels he really deserve it.

The "Doctor Question"

A colleague recently asked me why I didn’t consider becoming a doctor. She said that I have the discipline, the mental capacity, high respect for medical professionals and I just love hospitals. Well, she is right at some degree, but she missed something vital.

I haven’t given that question much thought ever since I entered college, but the answer is pretty simple. I feel I couldn’t excel in it. I’m not the type of person who engages well in human interactions. I like to help people though, but I’d rather be a faraway philanthropist who is very research oriented and back-office type, not like doctors who are required to talk to patients while throwing in sympathy and occasional contact. That for me is stressful. By the end of the day, I would be two times drained compared to being stuck in my computer figuring out a particular business model or research. I know myself too much.

Well that is my primary reason. The second is that I simply don’t like people to depend their lives on me, great emphasis on the “physical caring” part. I’m not good with my hands. Aside from Math, art is one of my hellish subjects. My hands are heavy and clumsy. It’s different if I’m stitching or making something out of nothing,. No one would get hurt. But examining other people by contact is a totally different story. It clouds my decision making skills and it’s a primary source of stress. It’s either I would chicken out or consciously diminish my patient base with my erratic and less than ideal behavior towards people.

And the most obvious reason is that I have a thing with math. I didn’t even seriously consider studying a medical course because of it. I knew math will always be packaged in the curriculum. I may like the theory and science part, but definitely not the math. If my passion is not that strong enough to face the grueling math part, why bother?

But my parents upon knowing that I have a potential with science, but an attitude with math still secretly hoped that I might enroll in a medical field just like what my best friend did, who is by the way a doctor now. But fortunately I didn’t. And to make matters worse, my sister who is much better in math skipped entering medicine too. I’m sure my parents were disappointed at some point especially when children of their colleagues take up medicine like it’s a trend. There must be a glistening honor to have a child bearing the title of a certified doctor. But even though they were disappointed, they accepted our choices and they never forced us to get into anything we didn’t want. My mother, upon realizing it, knew that I would eventually fail in becoming a doctor because of my personality. When it comes to my sister, it’s quite obvious that she greatly excels in something else that is far from the medical field. My sister and I never did regret missing it, nor did we ever dream in becoming doctors. Even if that is the case, my parents still have one hope in my brother.

Now, they never hide their wishes for him to become a doctor. In any casual conversations about our future my mom would say, “JD will take up medicine, right?” and to think that he’s still on the verge of entering high school. Sizing up my brother, he has a great potential to be one actually. He is smart. He is resourceful. We couldn’t count his medals anymore, plus he blends well with people (if he likes). He has this charm that I lack. He has a discipline that my sister lacks. He could be a great doctor one day, but then again those comments always fall short to him because his concerns nowadays are to hog the internet first, play online games while mastering his tests.

While I went with Mitch to Makati Medical Center for his monthly laboratory exam this morning, I couldn’t help remembering when I underwent a sensitive check up a couple of months ago. The resident that was assisting my doctor was my batch mate in high school. Her face or physique may have changed slightly, but I’m always good with familiar faces. While I kept answering questions of my doctor, she kept writing down my answers without a hint of recognition. Probably she couldn’t recognize me in the first place since we never interacted, but I was the one who felt weird there. Assessing everything now some of my friends have become doctors already. My best friend now receives impromptu emergency consultations from me over the phone. It’s weird, but I’m proud of nevertheless.

After Mitch’s lab exam, we crossed to McDonald’s to have breakfast. There I saw a couple of residents and doctors donned in their white lab gowns having their breaks. While I was waiting for Mitch at the table, a girl came into my view and looked at my direction. With what she was wearing, obviously she is either a resident or a doctor. Her face painted an inner confusion if she should say hello to me, while she was trying to make sure that it was indeed me. I could understand that part because I greatly look different now compared to when I was high school.

That school mate of mine and I were never close, but she helped me with Algebra one quarter when we were seated beside each other in freshman. We didn’t actually kill each other, I even appreciated her teaching me algebraic shortcuts, but we didn’t share anything personal either. From what I can recollect she is smart and generally kind, but not the type of person I would hang out with. To make it a little weirder, my sister and her younger sister are like BFFs. After a quick nostalgic moment, I stared at her for a couple of minutes and shifted my gaze on Mitch.

It’s better that we didn’t say hello at that point because I wouldn’t know what to say to her. I’m not a fan of small talk and we really wouldn’t have anything else to talk about. But it’s good enough to know that I see her doing well. In fact, realizing it now, her personality fits into being a doctor. Well, not necessarily my doctor, but I feel she would turn out to be a good one. I wouldn’t be surprised 20 years from now if she makes a name out of herself. She is pretty and charming which will draw patients to her. She is good with interactions even though she just pretends it when she has to. She is smart and good with math. She has what it takes to be a doctor.

I’m not saying that all aspiring doctors should have those traits to become great. Doctors also have varying personalities which they can learn how to integrate with what is required of them. All I’m saying is that a great fit of personality helps in its success. Doctors in all fields should have passion in the medical field that is true. They also should have the skill and the mental capacity to mix the Feel and Sense aspects, but having all that without the right personality might make it a little bit stressful. That is why when I observe my best friend, my batch mate and some doctors out there, their personalities may not entirely jive with each other, but at some point they should have important traits in common. People Skills and Passion. Some can sum up passion, but some may never have the right people skills. It’s not surprising though that some doctors out there are doubly stressed and would have a more difficult time excelling in their field if this was the case. It’s just something that they have to accept and work on. But just imagine me if I got into medicine. I hope now some people understand why I didn’t.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Catching up

I'm catching up on blogging. It's quite obvious that for the past couple of days I'm lacking time. I may have the means and the passion, but my time is devoted to other additional activities, usually spontaneous ones. I may have been busy before, but not spontaneously busy if you know what I mean. Plans erupt, sudden responsibilities obstruct me and my hormones are engaging. That's the difference.


I'm sure most of you who have the time to read blogs and surf know about this certain incident in our very own Duty Free Philippines. A certain Mr. Boyet Fajardo, a "renowned" fashion designer whom I've never quite heard, had temper-tantrums inside the establishment. He caused a major scandal that reached the philippines blogosphere and primetime news channels. The story was, this renowned fashion designer was disappointed at a staff of Duty Free Philippines because of a verification procedure that he was required to undergo. Being that it was a regular procedure, he was asked for identification and other what-nots. Infuriarated for not being recognized, with bloodshot eyes, he started screaming profanities at the staff. Something like: "Don't you know who I am?" kind of drama.

He started to threat the staff to be fired on the spot. Apparently he boasted his strong political connections. The manager already went over and tried to appease him, to minimize the scandal, but Mr. Boyet Fajardo would not calm down. Like a raging bull, he started to condemn the whole establishment causing more public strains. He said he would only be appeased if he would be given a chance to slap the staff OR make the staff apologize in public...kneeling. To end the matter once and for all, the teary eyed staff knelt down and apologized.

Soon, the incident was in Youtube, the incident was talked about in blogs and it reached the news primetime channels like wildfire. The once "unknown" Boyet Fajardo is already popular.

His defense to the whole scandal? He was tired and hungry. Toss in the assumptions that he had a bad day or he was in some sort of influence. Toss even the possibility that the staff may have done something wrong.


I don't think so.

Number 1. Who the hell does he think he is? If people don't really recognize or know him, then there must be a really good reason why. His attitude sucks. Hungry or not hungry, no one has the right to act like God creating horrific scenes of master and slave. It's full of drama that we don't need to see in this time. He's not God, gosh, he's not even a full fledged popular designer.

Number 2. Raising ones voice and releasing occasional profanities may be expected. I am guilty of that sometimes. Staffs are already oriented to some degree and the level of understanding is always given to the customer. But the kneeling and the slapping demands are way below the belt. It only happens in soap operas and it should stay that way.

Number 3. So what if he has political connections? Is he always that kid running back to mommy if someone's pissing him off at class? One of the major things I hate in some people is the nerve to release threats just because they know this and that. They're using other people's name to advance their own self interests. Pathetic users are also Pathetic losers.

I do hope the staff takes this to the courts. Their dignity and self-esteem might be damaged from what Mr. Boyet Fajardo did, but at least they could be mature enough to deal with it the right way. And even though Mr. Boyet Fajardo has already made himself known nationwide, may he already rest in peace.


Philippine Internet use rises as reported by Manilatimes.net. How cool is that? The world is getting smaller and smaller. Activities and transactions are getting more convenient. Social networking and interacting are getting more virtual. Who wouldn't like that.

PC makers and distributors are all over the place. Models and versions mushroom about with prices that are competitive enough to reach most of us, working class with only enough money to spare for gadgets and technology. And if there's a mushroom effect in equipments, expect software and internet connections brought by providers and telco companies to hoard us with their enticingly good products as well. Hell, if my parents are now suffering the net, the reach must have been that good.

HERE are the numbers:

According to AC Nielsen: Country's Internet users account 28% of the total 35 million urban population last year. About 70% of the Internet users are between 10-29 years old. Last year's internet, which stood 23% of the total urban population.

Internet usage is expected to expand 10% this year from the estimated 10 million internet users last year.

According to AC Nielsen Yahoo Net Index is an Internet media study of urban Internet users in the Philippines conducted in October-November last year in 22 major cities nationwide. It had a sample of 1,200 with respondents of 10 years old and above across all economic classes.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Information Overload

I know that I'm suffering from information overload when my head hurts, my visions get blurred and no matter what I do my mind refuses to understand a thing. I really hate experiencing this because aside from the headache it brings it makes me feel mentally incompetent. This usually happens when I cram for something I'm not good at. That's why remembering my schooling years I would always try to study in advance and get enough consultation if needed especially if I'm faced with my weakest subjects. It's either I know the subject too well that I don't study or I study boggling subjects only during night time. I never ever study in the mornings of the same day in which I have to efficiently apply what I've learned. I know some people can do this, but not me. I've accidentally tried it once when I forgot to study for a chemistry test and had to cram that morning, but I would have to stress the point that I failed on that test miserably.
That's what I felt today. Although I'm not talking about failing (yet), but I'm talking about surrendering to information overload.

Recently I was informed that I will be joining a special task force at work. I was pulled out from my normal operations to join a special team that would work on a bankwide project that involves the global big guys, which starts with a capital A, Auditors. It is bankwide, which means the scope is so big and so global that there are lots of data, information and strategies to be considered. Also, since the project was kicked off to appease the Auditors, there's a grave understanding that the outcome of the project could make or break the bank in some way. And since the gravity is that global and that serious, there's a pressing need for us to solve it ASAP.

The first round of meetings were done a few days ago and we've been talking to analysts all over the world. From the sound of their voices, they need help and we are tasked to do lots of things that we need to deliver efficiently. It was clear that we are following a strict time line and efficiency is an understatement. As our special team was identified to take on the project, we were given separate responsibilities immediately. But collectively our main responsibility is to investigate, analyze and clean up a global data that comes from major reports across a giant Datawarehouse. This immediately demanded us to know all about the datawarehouse, know about the reports and most especially know about the data that serve as 'meat' in the reports. But the problem is, I'm not familiar with the mentioned datawarehouse, reports and data.

The datawarehouse that we will be working on is something alien to me. The financial processes and intensive bank concentrated subjects are very far from the usual process and tasks that I normally enhance or do. The reports are fresh to me, and most importantly I would be working with different analysts all over, which means getting to know new contacts and new business partners. Everything is new.

Actually, I really don't mind that everything is new or at this rate I'm not knowledgeable with the entire project. I've never been scared of challenges, in fact I get intrigued. As long as I'll be given an appropriate time to study and to personally work on it hands on, then everything will pull through. But sadly, time is not in our hands and I would have to make the best out of it and dive in the dark.
Half of my day today was spent in a conference room with 6 other analysts who are managing their own set of datawarehouses. As far as we're concerned this project is fairly new to us. Although I have to mention that some senior analysts can easily tie up their own warehouse and processes because of their seniority to the bank, to the data quality requirements and to datawarehouse manipulation. The financial terms and technical sides are quite easy for them to understand leaving only areas of complexity in finding strategies of execution, but unfortunately, I'm fairly new to the global complexity of this financial corporation. I'm fairly new to everything. Datawarehouse and technical stuff are something that I don't fear, but I admit I should be given enough time to study and go through on my own.

But since the project is prioritized, the pace of "training" will be fast. I sat through the first half of the session understanding bits and pieces of it, facing handouts, viewing various reports, listening to financial jargons and taking up notes in the process. During the first half, I was happily joining the ride, but on the latter half my head started to hurt.

I looked at the reports and kept listening to the facilitator, but I felt nothing was coming into my head anymore. I tried to force it and tried to recount the things that I learned on the first half, but the more I get boggled and tried to understand, the more my head hurt. It came to a point that I was staring at the overhead screen while listening to the drone of the facilitator's voice, which came n and out of my ear. I tried to relax for a bit and looked as if I'm not frustrated, but I knew right then that all the reports, the data, the jargons and processes soaked my brain big time. I was in denial.

I looked at the analysts and some of them either knew what was going on or was just like me thinking of how they are going to pull this off. But it's also highly probable that I'm the only one going through a weird time. Also it's frustrating and discouraging to think that I've already reached my limit.

But the one seated beside me, who is known to be a brainiac analyst, faced me with droopy eyes and said. "I'm on information overload and my head hurts." I exhaled. So I guess it was not only me. I'm not entirely happy that we couldn't fully grasp it at that point, but I guess the consolation is that I'm not alone.

After the meeting, I went out of the conference room and felt that I could breathe again. The wide open space of the office floor quickly eased me. I felt the conference room suffocated me. And so, I went on to answer a couple of emails and tried to resume accomplishing my normal workload. I tried to defrost my mind by doing normally paced things. I kept my notes and documents from the meeting away. I vowed that I will start to look at it first thing tomorrow morning when my mind is fresh and rested. I have to recover.

I admit this thing frustrates me, but I have to accept the fact that no matter how powerful the brain is, it's not highly permeable as we would expect it to be. Unless I'm Dr. Reeds of Fantastic Four, my mind can only take so much at a given time and at a given intensity. I get through with my belief in myself and giving my mind ample time to properly absorb information. I also know my mind too well. I know when to stretch it and I know the time when I have to back off and give it a rest.

Information overload, I believe, only hurts when you don't acknowledge it.

Facebook Quiz

For some reason, I click on FACEBOOK because of the weird to amusing to downright serious collection of quizzes it has in store. I don't pass by my profile page and I rarely view and read other people's updates. It requires a specific mood for me to pry on willing information.

Anyways, I like those quizzes because I'm the type who likes to answer them. I like to be asked about random to mundane things and end up with a result that explains my personality, intellect or instincts. Quizzes like that crack me up. It also blissfully kills time for me. Imagine a book of quizzes instead a book of crossword puzzles while waiting at the airport. Now that's fun.

Although, I know it's just an attempt to explain whatever aspect that the quiz wants to know about you. Sometimes it's even a revelation to yourself. But just like horoscopes those quizzes aren't scientific. It just programs your mind to believe in something that you think you know or you desire. It's tricky.

Informative? Maybe. Scientific? I doubt. Obvious? Usually. Fun? Hell Yeah.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

If it's not for you. It's not for you.

I filed for leave at work last Friday to relax. In the morning, without any itinerary in mind, the house felt like it was Saturday. Everyone was there. My dad, my mom, my brother and my sister. We considered this a rare family gathering. Being it as a day of utmost relaxation that also goes by saying that we need sustenance to fuel up our couch potato intentions, so I quickly drove to the nearest mall.

I spent roughly:

100 bucks for Paotsin
350 bucks for Harvey's food and goodies
180 bucks for 2 slices of Red Ribbon Cakes
130 bucks for McDonald's Take out (JD)
180 bucks for a Chowking Take-out

Count in other expenses like paying my 2,000 worth of phone bill from Globe and extra 2,500 withdrawal from my ATM account to pay an installment plan. Painful, but for a worthy cause. In those 30 minutes of ricocheting from one store to the next, I was able to spend that money as intended, avoiding all other unnecessary stops like buying that cute shirt at Bayo. I went home with so many food in tow people would think I'm running an orphanage with highly demanding children.

Upon arrival, I presented the food and almost everyone quickly rummaged it. I even have a picture of Harvey jumping like crazy and guarding his canned lamb and biscuits like a true hunting dog. As usual, my camera cannot, for the life of me, upload pictures anymore due to a disk problem named "BOOTEX." Slightly stressed, but stress is not allowed that Friday so I surrendered to food.

I was having a steady day until I found out that my planned car, the car that I was ready to get on April 15, was already gotten by a friend who exists in a very close circle. Being transparent and honest with myself, I was upset. The feeling of excitement was automatically replaced by upset and disappointment. The taste of my sweet mango dessert suddenly tasted bland. My family quickly observed that I have resulted to staring in open spaces. My dad tried to cheer me up by broadcasting to the family that they can't wait to see my new car on April 15. In my mind, I wanted to throw up.

I told my mother my case. I confessed that I was upset and not excited about the project anymore. The desire to go to work and seize my papers from the loan officer is something I need to do first thing on Monday morning. My desire has been deflated. There was no spark of hope or excitement anymore. And I would smash my head on the ground if I would still go through with the purchase only to wake up every morning feeling unsatisfied. It would be more torturous for me since I would be paying for it every month of every year. I just couldn't do it.

It left with me a ruined lunch and sordid state. My family unexpectedly tried to cheer me up. My mother insisted that God wanted to tell me that the car was not for me. My siblings wanted to look for other cars online. JD kept saying Chevrolet, while my sister kept on presenting bogus suggestions that would leave me penniless for my entire professional career. But I appreciated their relentless efforts. I assumed they would just shrug my disappointment away and laugh at me, but I was wrong. They were very supportive and they know how this project means to me.

My father was instantly mad at first. I wasn't sure if he was mad at the situation or mad at me for crying at Harvey, but he called me to his room and advised me not to go through the purchase anymore. And when my dad talks, I listen. Being a certified car lover himself, he knows how pitiful I feel. He wouldn't let me go into it with a half heart because he knows how much responsibilities I have to face once I get into it. That is true and I hear him. But I also admitted that my all my efforts have gone to waste. There's a different brand of disappointment I shoulder now. Seriously, I felt like smashing someone's head at that time.

My dad upon learning my anguish, did his unexpected fatherly duty, and ordered me to dress up. With my mind faced with lots of demons, we drove to different car dealers to scout around. I was touched. He is not obliged to do this in anyway. He could've left me alone to deal with my heartache, but he accompanied me in the hopes to cheer me up. To drive home the point, he insisted that I get a four cheese pizza and pasta at home to share with my siblings, his treat. That's my dad.

At the evening of Friday, I was subdued. No longer was I thinking of sordid thoughts. I am slowly realizing that maybe the disappointment should not last any minute longer. It's not worth it they said. It's not as if I need it as a form of a life support.

I can't plan and control everything. There will always be things beyond my control. It will upset me and taunt me, but it's not worth harboring negative feelings for. I am just mad because I didn't get what I want, that the desire has been deflated, that I was overtaken. Those are true, but it is also within my control if I would let it affect me.

If it's not for me, it's not for me. Simple as that. I move on. And one thing about me is, I always have a PLAN B, not merely as an alternative, but something better that I hope I never had to use.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Prelude to a Vacation

As soon as my last meeting's done, finished some reports and handed over documents to my boss, I went down with a couple of colleagues, had coffee while I imagining the sight of home. Officially, I'm on leave today.

Pathetic to some but simple things like this at the end of a grueling work week is considered a treat for me. I can do things that I really miss like reading, writing, arranging my bookshelf for the nth time, playing online games till I rot, go malling and just to do something that doesn't require deadlines, business process or late meetings.

My friend whom I've chatted with suggested that I go to my favorite hangout place and have coffee while reading. Spa addicts wanted me to pamper myself by going obviously to the SPA, have my nails done and go to the parlor. Others suggested that I should go malling and hence shop. Going to a less than urban recluse would've been great only if I'm not going alone and I'm not the designated driver. A large chunk of me however just wanted to stay home in my pajamas, read and not do anything requiring too much mental or physical effort.

But knowing me, as much as I'd love to observe and stare all day, I wouldn't be able to do that. I'd cringe at the lost minutes. Since I have free time, I might just go to the nearest mall to pay the bills and get some take out for a planned lunch with my brother. I can be equally productive and relaxed. Maybe in the afternoon, after sleeping and pigging out of course, I could go to the salon and get some foot spa or something. I haven't stared at my toes for quite some time now. I'd like to know if there are certain things that I need to adhere to. With financial strictness that I uphold, I might skip shopping for things that I think I need and just walk Harvey instead. Lastly, I could finally go to the other house and transport my book collection to my ever-so bare room. I was asking for a free day for this, now that I have it there is no time to waste. DVD marathon, blogging non stop, getting take outs, doing some cooking experiments are easy contenders. The key is to do productive, but relaxing things. So far, I have a good list with me.

A day without work and stress is my prelude to lined up vacations for the summer. I might not be an entire fan of this season. Too much sun is essentially bad for my skin and my temper, but I do love the excuse it brings to file for that vacation leave and roam around. Somewhere near, somewhere far I couldn't care less. As long as I'm relaxed yet not wasting precious minutes to the bone, then consider me a very happy girl.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

An open minded Saturday ended up great

Spent the whole day with my dear friend Bags cruising all over the metro yesterday. Well we only had a couple of things in mind, but the idea was to keep ourselves open for what may happen. In short, we didn't have definite plans. Our first stop was at my office to do a couple of important tasks, which lasted for about 15 minutes. After that we drove to the nearest car dealership to check out my latest project. It was there that I hooked up with Mitch who will be spending lunch with us before he goes to his photo-meeting somewhere in north.

As expected, we didn't have a specific restaurant in mind so I urged them to try the weekend Salcedo Market near our office. A couple of first timers, I felt they were intrigued and quite amazed with what they saw. As Mitch's photo buddy TJ joined us, we eventually all had a yummy Hungarian Sausage lunch with a sugar free dessert and cold drinks. The hungarian sausage was good and it was unfortunate for us not to catch stalls with famous desserts and dishes to sell. We now know better to go to Salcedo Market earlier to experience the dishes we missed.

Moving on, while Mitch and TJ went to their engagement, Bags and I decided to go to Powerplant Rockwell for a quick mall R&R. While being there, we never had a specific agenda in mind except to check the Urban Bazaar that Bags mentioned she heard from a friend. Checking Urban Bazaar did not necessarily mean that we would go on a shopping spree taking into consideration that we're both in a "financially challenging phase" in our lives right now. But nevertheless, we were open to the possibility.

We paid a 100 bucks each for the entrance fee and met fashionable girls who tote LVs with satiny smooth skins eager to burn money. We saw stalls that sell vintage dresses, jewelry stalls that are one of a kind and shoe stalls for all types of girls. But most importantly, focusing on the summer season, we saw stores solely selling swimwear of varying, cuts, colors and prices.

It was an automatic priority for us to check on swimsuits, not only because it's summer, but Bags and I have an upcoming trip to one of the coolest hot spots in the country. We might not have enough time and opportunity so Bags and I dedicated to rummaging racks just in case.

While shopping at young start up stalls that use even Multiply sites as another engine for their market-concentrated business, I applaud them for breaking down the boxed up retail stores on bravely coming up with a brand of their own. These entrepreneurs, I've noticed who are manning their own stalls, come from well to do families who cater to what they obviously love, which is fashion. In this case, they cater to swimsuits, dresses and jewelries. Some swimsuit designers and owners of young brands like Naked Sun, Soak and Cocomo, were even my schoolmates in college . Granted that we belong to the same age bracket, it's very positive and inspiring to see them embark on the world of business and retail.

After a couple of rounds, Bags and I ended up staying longer in a funky and very avant garde swimwear stall that sell The Naked Sun swimwear label. We were attracted by the colorful swimsuits, the one of a kind cuts and the oooh-lala soft fabrics. It also helped that the owners of the stall are vivacious and willing to help us with the fittings and the decision making. Bags was smitten with her plum one strap bikini, while I was attracted to their U-shaped strap Cleo two piece. With the kind of fabric, color and fit, I couldn't care less if I don't have the Swimsuit Illustrated body, which I'm so far from achieving. Swimsuits like that can give people like me, who have highly imperfect bodies, more courage to wear in public.

But in truth, Bags had a stronger position to buy one because she had a much easier chance and current means. Suffice to say that I was only there to support and admire as I had no intentions of buying especially if it's in a bazaar. I always have a thing with bazaars because it's not normal for me to find something that I would like there, much more if I would look for a swimsuit. Choosing swimsuits that work well for my body type and specifications is like a finding a needle in a haystack, multiply it by two in a bazaar. I would eventually get stressed at cramped fitting rooms and the stocks are always limited. Hence I would usually cling on to usual and trusted stores, which has always been a shopping attitude of mine.

To make matters worse, I didn't think of bringing cash with me. So I learned a valuable lesson when I ended up loving a swimsuit that beckoned me the first time I saw it. With proper consultations and assistance, the owner drove home the point that I looked nice in it, a merely humble compliment to Bags' smashing reviews on her chosen bikini. Bags bought hers and I slightly tried to counter my desire due to the fact that my resources were not with me. But subtle signs like that didn't work when Bags offered to buy the swimsuit for the meantime. I bled her wallet dry when we stepped out of the bazaar with our own purchases tucked in my bag.

After the intense shopping moment because the suits we lately realized was slightly expensive, we decided to cool down at FIC Ice Cream Bar. A couple of brave souls, we decided to go for a dessert right after buying our own swimwear. Talk about a weird turn of events. To make it less guilty, we both ordered yogurt instead of the normal creamy ice cream. 95% fat free they say.

After our Rockwell Purchase, we headed off to my office to settle some reports while thinking of what to do for dinner. In the end, it was decided that we would meet up with Bags' boyfriend and another friend of ours somewhere in the South. We headed back to our village to meet up, took my car and went to Alabang to experience the most raved Japanese Restaurant, OMAKASE.

My sister and Bags' friends kept on building up the sushi. Japanese food lovers, Bags and Ian ordered the recommended sushi as I ordered Katsudon for a first time experience (imagine that!). The restaurant was packed despite its hidden location and we noticed the price wasn't bad for a Japanese restaurant. I thought we already had it good, until the trademark sushi dishes were delivered. Talk about NIRVANA. American Dream, salmon sushi with fried tasty batter with cream cheese dip was to die for. It was exactly how my sister described it. The spicy tuna salad was love and our dishes met our expectations. The best part is, it's not that expensive compared to the Japanese restaurants I've dined in Amorsolo. It was a fulfilling dinner and glad that we were open to the fact of traveling all the way to Alabang to have one of the best Japanese food experiences in our entire life. After that, we went on to buy coffee (instead of dessert) as we headed home stuffed and happy.

When I got home at past 11 pm, I still wanted to do a few things like blog, play SIMS or re-fit my newly purchased swimwear. But after doing my bathroom routine and seeing my bed, I surrendered. I stared at the ceiling and realized how productive my day turned out to be. The last activity I had while lying down was calling up Mitch to say goodnight. I must have been that burned out that slept immediately took hold of me in an instant.

The BPO Dream

Green pastures a couple of decades ago translate to Western countries, migration, dollars and Caucasians. We all love to explore and to take advantage of the luck and opportunities overflowing in the West. We strive hard to get out of our own country to find work that could uplift our lifestyle as well as our families. In those days, one only needed a certain amount of bravery, an ability to read, write and be resourceful to make it big there. Now it demands more than that. A highly specialized degree and a stronger stomach. More ore less these are basic requirements to cross and survive there. Ten decades later with the emergence of outsourcing, intense competition and the global economic crisis we all love to talk about, the green pastures may prove to gone local this time.

Efficient cost cutting seems to be the best option for corporations right now to avoid closing shop. And let's face it, Philippines has a highly competitive and hungry pool of educated professionals that could be considered efficient and 'cheap.' In Westerners' eyes, we have one of the lowest operational costs which include labor, office rent and cost of living. With having the western culture strongly embedded with ours, it's not much of a big adjustment if not for the tropical weather. But they don't necessarily have to cross to the east physically, Filipinos are known to be hardworking and honorable in work on-site or off site. A quick conference call overseas would be enough to handle a global project. Filipinos on site or off site are known to be god fearing, resourceful, dedicated and flexible to their clients needs. What more could Westerners ask for? Throw in a big bonus that we're good with English.

I worked in an outsourcing industry, a couple of years back when I was still trying hard to be an effective slave for a local banking corporation. The thought of outsourcing then was still vague to me. All I knew it was a call center and didn't demand much of what I've learned in college. After a couple of interviews, preening and questions, I was recruited by a top consulting firm and was assigned to be a pilot member of an outsourced team that was tasked to do database research and claims processing for a big health insurance company in the States. Already sounds good compared to my previous job.

My team mates, all of us who have different backgrounds from Architecture, Liberal Arts, Engineering to Business, were trained to work on systems, database and processes for the entire month. Our work required us to have meetings with our onshore counterparts as if merely attending your normal office meeting on site. It also meant that I had to endure a graveyard shift and sacrifice the already "lack of social" exposures even when I was still having a normal 8 am to 5 pm scheme.

The processes were dynamic and it was a huge leap from a traditional working environment to a linear and western one. From an intense paper-environment, I moved on to a paperless one. From a cluttered and cramped up working space, I went to working for a top outsourcing company that made me taste an ergonomic office lifestyle with free drinks, supplies and flat screen monitors. From a local organization that gives a stringent list of benefits and compensation, I moved on to a highly competitive one. From a traditional organization, I moved on to something modern. The work flow, the culture and the environment I really like except for the schedule. But for I liked the pace and the culture so much that I lasted two years full of relocating and erratic schedules. I survived and excelled until I got myself burned out.

Outsourcing seems to be the answer to companies and the nightmare to westerners especially if you're an onshore employee. I've been a sole witness and a mover on how we were efficient with what we were tasked to do. Not only did we meet it, we constantly excelled in it, which is a true Pinoy hardworking trait. I was a witness to our outsourced team expanding and our onshore counterparts slowly diminishing. At some points I felt bad, but doing the tasks faster and more efficient is something I've learned I shouldn't apologize for.

I was proud of what I did and my mind became open on outsourced functions that go beyond merely call centers and telephone sales. I got used to people asking questions on why I worked for a call center, well I just briefly tell them that I am not. Outsourcing, contrary to what most people think, is not just doing call center work. We're making the office global I would say doing different things. From analyzing, designing and back office processing, we offer and if others do not catch the point, I suggest they swim into the idea. They might not know what they're missing.

With the global recession going on, it's harder and harder to find jobs in a country where recession originated in the first place. The green pastures we once thought is slowly drying up. Unless you would want to throw your degree out the window and start taking very odd jobs there, it's more lucrative to stay in the Philippines now for a better pay and closer family ties. Thanks to outsourcing, companies bring the "honorable" jobs to us and not the other way around. Global corporations saw us, not only as their greener pasture, but a mirage of hope that could help them cut costs, be more efficient and be more global. Proud to say that the numbers are continuously rising as I type.

Aside from the typical voice calls, there are lots of jobs that are making itself known to us like research and analysis, financial reporting, transcription, web designs, IT infrastructure and management, human resources, legal matters, even graphics and publishing. Business Process Outsourcing, Shared Services and Knowledge Process outsourcing share a similar concept of cost efficient, highly professional and dynamic work environment. It is the new green pasture for some of us.

If some clients close down in the western countries, more and more organizations jump ship to ours to give us locals something to think about. Maybe our greener pastures have changed. Maybe it's time to view our country as one big hub of professionals eager to succeed in our own shores.

“Companies abroad have only two choices these days—outsource or surrender and close shop,” he says, pointing out the financial meltdown has made the Philippines even more attractive because it allows foreign companies to tighten their belts without sacrificing their service. (Manilatimes.net)

pix: http://images.businessweek.com/ss/06/01/big_outsourcers/image/intro.gif

PInay Women on Top

Women seen as subordinates and only purely domestic goddesses is a thing of the past. Thank God we have more avenues and more capabilities to do what we want in any field we choose, commanding equal respect and admiration from our male counterparts. We now have a voice and we maximize it however we can. In all things we doe we always want to always be 'on top.'

Pinay Bosses transcend from the domestic environment to the professional arenas. It's not surprising for anyone to know that women can hold executive offices, can be the CEO's themselves, an influential and domineering leader of an organization or much more a president of a country. Take our country which hosts women in almost half of the entire senate body, reporting to one country president, who is in fact a woman.

It's not surprising that :

THE Philippines ranked first globally in terms of having the most number of women in senior management positions in corporations, based on a survey conducted by accountancy and advisory firm Grant Thornton International.

The survey, which covered 7,200 privately held businesses (PHBs) in 36 economies, said 47 percent of senior corporate posts in the Philippines are currently occupied by women.

This is way above the global average of 24 percent.(business mirror)

Russia, Thailand, Poland and China trail behind.

Women prove to be efficient and equally important to mold corporations and organizations. We have our own abilities and innate qualities that balance the world once dominated by men. In fact, pinay bosses are so accepted here and so needed that finding a corporation with an all-men management team, I believe, is a hoax. Too much testosterone is bad, figuratively and literally.

Allow me to prove this highly true once I get promoted.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

If I had those arms

Sadly this is the only decent time that I would get to blog about some random thoughts and news reactions I've been keeping for the past four days. I haven't been doing anything lately aside from work. I'm slowly transforming into a couch potato right now, well looking like a couch really. It has been totally hectic at work with lots of issues and outages, which seriously I should stop talking about because I have other opinions to discuss and it involves a person's fashion sense.

Don't worry. I'm not going to talk about fashion per se. Hell, I am the last person to discuss that particular subject. But this is about a woman and her fashion sense that seems to be creating a global discussion veering on the nonsensical. It's about First Lady Michelle Obama's arms. Yes, you read that correctly, arms. Of all the economic recession, killing sprees and environmental turmoils, in the realm of fashion there is something one"relevant" thing to talk about.

Michelle Obama as most of us perceive is a woman of substance. She is definitely not a simpleton. If she was not a first lady, she would've been a full-time kick-ass lawyer, has her own private limo, attending power lunches with her girlfriends, having dinner with her husband and attending PTA meetings of her kids in between board meetings with clients. She is definitely a go-getter and God forbid someone stands in her way.

Emanating that much power is scary. But good thing she is also intelligent, a mother and a modern lady that could understand the current plight of society, share her thoughts about it, make bold and intelligent actions while prioritizing her family as a woman is expected to do.

Being a role model for women, she is all that until some critics bash her fashion sense. Technically, there is nothing wrong with her fashion sense. As I was sifting through her pictures, her outfits aren't tasteless and over the edge at all. Her clothes are mostly tailored, simple, modern and very classy. It's a dress most women, even I could wear. Her fashion sense is relatable until some critics tell her to cover up.

The level of coverage critics think she should impose is quite different when you're just a simple Jane. For normal people like us, we have the ultimate public freedom to dress whatever we like. We are accountable for our own actions and reputations. Honestly, people wouldn't care less about what I wear and it's as not as if I'm affecting the state of the nation. But according to reports, if you're the highest political figure representing the country, a certain dress decorum should be upheld. Naturally the reigns of creativity and self expression are limited to a minimum. First ladies are not expected to dress vulgarly and be seen in clothes that could build up a negative image of the person and of the country. That's understandable and that's agreeable. But everytime I look at Michelle Obama's photos in simple cut dresses, with solid colors and classic cuts, I cannot for the life of me think of it as inappropriate. Oh right, there's this one thing that makes conservative and traditionalist irky. Her penchant for wearing sleeveless that showcases her fabulously toned arms.

Well, I would showcase them too if I had those arms. Right now I would be irking with envy, but not of annoyance. Michelle Obama's arms are sculpted, which projects that with all her responsibilities that demand mental and physical efforts, she still has the time and consideration to be active. Her toned and sculpted arms tell the world that health has always been one of her personal priorities. It tells us that we should all work out despite our schedules. And it also tells us not bother her with stupid things like this.

Probably that is the reason why traditionalists and critics get queasy. They might be intimidated by Michelle Obama's arms that could easily beat them up if they don't shape up. Others might not able to control their envy and build negative facts about how those arms are achieved. In short, they feel the first lady is too modern and too bold for their taste. They even asked her cover up from time to time.

For what, I ask? If I have Michelle Obama's arms, it is mine to flaunt and mine to display in a classic and modern fashion. As long as I'm not representing women who do not wear underwears and allow nip slips to occur for the whole world to feast on then I should be perfectly fine. I don't think her arms disgust me either. What seeing it does to me is to motivate me to exercise and be the all modern woman like she is. I may be complaining about my schedule and work load to avoid excersie, but she is the active First Lady with fabulously toned arms. There's sometheing wrong with that. I believe that is not fair. I should even be ashamed.

Naturally this received less consideration from the First Lady. She is the type of woman who would wear something that looks good on her, that is appropriate and that is to her liking. Sleeveless or not, she will wear what she pleases. To know if it has sleeves or not should be far from our concerns. She will not be dicated and she will not be boxed in the cardboard cut-outs of what first ladies wear. As long as she serves her good constituents, produces sounder solutions and protect human rights, then I think people shouldn't care if she goes strapless or not. Please, doing her job while looking good is something all women could relate to. It is a minor topic, but I hope the "arms issue" will be dropped because the more they criticize her, the more restricting and stupid it sounds.

Good thing Michelle Obama has beautiful arms to showcase and represent the freedom and the prowess of a modern woman. It could serve her another purpose as well. It spells, let's get to work and to not mess with me. Frankly it saves a lot of drama.

This would be the last time I would have to comment on what she wears. As long as she's not showcasing private parts and representing women in a bad way then I shouldn't care less what color or cut she chooses to wear. In fact, I think she should continue to wear what her fashion sense dictates to drive home the point that there is more to the world that her beautifully scultped arms. Unfortunately, people dying because of envy and intimidation is the least of her worries.

Let’s face it: The only bracing symbol of American strength right now is the image of Michelle Obama’s sculpted biceps. Her husband urges bold action, but it is Michelle who looks as though she could easily wind up and punch out Rush Limbaugh, Bernie Madoff and all the corporate creeps who ripped off America. (The Spec.com)

Sunday, March 8, 2009


The word for the day is boggle.

Before I slept late last night there wasn't anything alarming going on. I was so sure and very confident about the flow of things. For a couple of weeks and months I've made certain goals in my life that I'm proud to say are in progress. Some already on their road to fulfillment and some are still about to happen. I was cool with that.

For January, I made a couple of serious decisions. It will be accomplished (hopefully) in the first quarter of this year. It is regarding a much-bigger purchase that I could only consider buying only if I have a stable job and sufficient savings to boot. It's nothing grand to some, but I'm talking about buying my very own car.

Thinking about it, I don't really need my "own" car. I can freely use cars brought by my dad at my disposal. Ever since college, I've never had to figure out how to get my own ride. I never went through bargaining with a sibling. Every car resource (except my dad's toy and business cars) has always been used by myself, my sister and my mother for "official" and recreational purposes. In fact until now, I already feel I have my own car only that I don't pay for the maintenance and I'm less forgiving on its usage. The only thing that changed was paying for the gas. While I was studying, my father was the one paying for it, but once I've gone "professional" I pay for my own consumption. It's a pain in the ass especially if I have to budget it with my meager salary. Good thing I never did worry about maintenance. Also in terms of the availability and the usage, my father is generous enough to allot us cars that I could practically use and swap with my mom and sister.

Even though in that regard I am fortunate, I'm not much of a car-addict. I commute whenever I can and there are times that it's more hassle for me to bring a car than just take the train, a cab or hitch with a friend. In short, buying a car was never a priority nor a want.

But in one morning while I was talking to my mom, the ever hot-headed accountant, about my recent finances and my soon to be "successful" insurance installment after 5 grueling years of paying for it, she opened up a very promising idea. Now that I'll be almost done with one of my biggest financial obligations, my money would eventually be either automatically saved or spent in random things. Unfortunately, I'm better with handling money if there's a goal in mind. If there is none, rest assured I would find more reasons to spend it on things that only give me temporary highs like dining out, food, shoes and sometimes books. I don't really invest because I feel I still have so much to learn. Investing in stocks with less knowledge is just like a gamble to me. Also, a matter of owning my own house is something I still couldn't afford now nor in a few years or so. Basically, I need to dispose my money in something worth it. Something that I could see and benefit from in the long run. Well, in my age and state of independence, a car is a more promising choice.

After all the justifications and weighing the desire, the wheels were easily set in motion. I am this close to releasing my funds. I've researched what I needed and I've made some effort to get to where I am right now. I'm at a point where documents and formalities were already taken cared of. During te process, I wasn't a bit boggled.

But when I woke up this morning I suddenly had cold feet. I was at a decision blur.
I was boggled if I'm actually doing the right thing. It's different if I'm deciding on something that will be freely given to me. It's different if I was still in college and my dad asked me which car to buy and when. It would just be like picking candy from a store and choosing which restaurant to have dinner. But if my very own savings is involved and it practically amounts to "everything" that I've saved in my lifetime, then it's a different story.

When I woke up, the first word that came to my mind was "boggle." I am boggled that I couldn't move. Thinking of the gravity of what I will spend, I am worried that so many expectations of the purchase will not be met. I'm slowly becoming a pessimist. If that would be the case, I would just end up being disappointed and I'd rather not risk my savings just for a mediocre feeling of satisfaction or success. It must have been something that I ate last night or some insipid dream that tossed my certainty and optimism. If this is a car buyers' phase that I'm having right now, I would do my best to go through it and try to understand. But I just want it to be over with. This is the wrong time to be boggled.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

WAAA! That word, legitimate or not, perfectly describes my raw feeling right now. I realize that I've spent my entire Saturday in the office. And just to drive home the point, looking out of the office windows, the sun has finally left me. Such a loser when I should have been doing a lot of things, more relaxing things. Now, I realize how badly I NEED a vacation.

But fine, vacation will come soon, pretty soon and I'm relishing all the anticipation.

And so to make matters easier, I went to Salcedo Park which is only a couple of blocks from my office building. My good officemate Jim accompanied me as I bought my lunch there. All I can say is, it's my type of bazaar. Food. Food and more food that you can't seem to find in staple restaurants and groceries. Hard to find goodies sold and created by homemade food concessionaires occupy the spacious parking lot. From native dishes to international ones, it is the bazaar for foodies. I even got presents there, sugarfree goodies for Mitch and my dad. No matter how hot it was during lunch time, I had such a blast eating smooth ice cream while waiting for my Hungarian sausage to be cooked. Even though I spent a grueling 500 bucks for food (Cups of nasi goreng, hungarian sausage and couple of sugarfree leche flans) it made spending Saturday at the office easier.

After that, I went to work and got to read a couple of sites without any guilt creeping up on me. I even had the full control of our pantry, where I watched classic singers in a game segment in Wowowee. I got to see whatever happened to singers that were such big hit makers in the 90's like Chad Borja, Richard Reynoso, Geneva Cruz, Dingdong Avanzado and my favorite Rachel Alejandro. Well some mapped a disappointing turn of events in their faces (Whatever-happened-to their cuteness kind of thing). Some are proudly focusing on their new careers and some are still trying hard (desperately) to make a comeback. Each singer was introduced and all of them were given a few minutes to perform the classic songs they've popularized. I swear, I found myself remembering the words and singing along. I was probably in gradeschool when their songs gained popularity, but it's only now that I get to fully appreciate their meaning. Songs like "Paalam na" "Salamat" "Nakapagtataka" are such OPM classics that have hard core meanings. These songs are not some kind of songs that just depend on the beat and arrangement. Songs in the 90's, specifically OPMs, are really good. Sure that these 90's hit makers change for the better or for the worse, but I'm glad to find out that once they have belted the classics in that show, the songs came to life better than before.

Then I went back to work, of course. I surfed the net while humming Rachel Alejandro's "Paalam Na." I even had the sudden urge to call Tracy, a college friend of mine, who strictly reminds me of Rachel Alejandro. The resemblance is uncanny. She could be a sister or a daughter or a twin. I forgot to return her call a couple of days ago. Well, I guess now is the perfect time.

After reading a couple of blogs about Francis Magalona, may he rest in peace, I fought the urge to drive to Greenbelt and just stay there for the meantime. The tempting afternoon sun with my hot cafe vanilla beats being cramped in my desk waiting for the files to arrive. I would've been more productive and relaxed there, but the mere thought that I had to seriously cut unnecessary expenses pulled the breaks. I went to C howking instead and got their new dessert fit for summer, which is the Mango Tapiocca. It's reminiscent of the Mango Crema Ice Craze pulled out by Jollibee. I haven't forgiven Jollibee, but Chowking's proved to be yummy enough. Each spoonful of luscious mangoes, sago and crushed ice helped eased my day.

And since I can't view any other entertaining sites in my office laptop, which includes social networking sites (there goes my plan to update), I had to pull Harriet out, my ever reliable HP mini net book. She, as always, made my boring stay in the office funner. Anyways, my file hasn't arrived yet and Mitch just called me for dinner. I guess with all the activities that happened today, going to work on Saturdays ended up to be frustrating, but bearable. I guess this is it for now. It's time to log off and head home.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Crazy Carnivore: A tribute

I am a meat eater. I'm a carnivore to the core. I eat hamburgers with extra mustard without remorse, and I am fully aware that before that patty gets mixed with herbs and fried well done, it had been a part of a living creature. That queasy thought that it came from a living creature is easily pushed away because what I usually see in front of me is just a chunk of meat and not practically the animal. It's a matter of ecology and I am merely playing a part. I'm like Dracula, honoring the presence of blood (meat), which serves as a part of my sustenance and nothing more.

But I am also human and considered to be a complex creature. Psychologically something must be wrong with me when I see pigs, chickens or cows being transported to their supposed doom and I have the urge to click the lock and let them all lose. At some point when I see those instances, as a meat eater, I always feel the need to be punished. But logically that doesn't make any sense. I go to the market and love gazing at fresh produce, seafoods and meats. I do not feel any remorse when they are already cleanly packed when in reality, before it even reached that state, an animal was killed. I do know that, but it makes the guilt less gnawing.

But seeing calf on a stick roasted with its full anatomy, pigs roasted and live pigs transported is simply heart wrenching. They're treated just like what humans would treat them, like animals. They are lured to horrendous transportation, oblivious that they will be delivered to farms only to be killed in able to feed hundreds of carnivores they once considered their masters. We essentially take care of them only to let them be killed for us to eat. The process and mere thought just saddens me.

But that is how the world turns. That is how ecology works and unless all of us start to be vegetarians, then pigs, cows or chickens will always be killed and mass produced. Unfortunately, it is also very easy for all of us to do "genocide" to lesser mammals even because of a single sign of threat that could prove lethal to humans in the future. Wiping out the possibility of epidemic and spreading of viral disease that can cause complications and death to humans should, by all cost, should be prioritized.

Ever since the Ebola-Reston Virus found in hogs were discovered first in the Philippines, people all over the world have become wary. The word Ebola is first tied up with Monkeys and that particular brand of Ebola virus is very dangerous to humans, which can cause deteriorating death. I believe it has also been used as the topic of a major motion picture starring Dustin Hoffman. Negative visions would usually plague a cautious human mind like epidemic, pandemic or much worse, an outbreak when global recession is happening and availability to medicines is weak. This is something that we are fool not to avoid at trying, economic times.

As much as this brand of EBOLA-RESTON virus found in hogs IS NOT PROVEN to provide massive or direct threat to humans, Global communities still usher pressure to have it completely eliminated. Understandable. A negative strain in livestock, whether or not it directly affects humans, disrupts peace of mind. The saying of "better safe than sorry" becomes the new motto.

Hence with the approval of the government and local dealers, 6,000 pigs in a particular Bulacan farm in the Philippines were incapacitated, killed, burned and buried yesterday. It was all over the news to inform the public that big precautionary measures are already being done to appease carnivores and to appease the global community. Despite the "inhumane words" of killed, burned and incapacitated, we could only feel relief for the smart act for the common good.

But again, as humans, we have the ability to be tugged and to act differently. Individuals, who have the capacity to freeze compassion in their hearts, were the ones to do the killing because people like me cannot. I'm not literally a pet activist in all sense of the word. I'm not essentially sentimental, but I'm sure I would puke at the sight of pigs being transported and prepared to be shot on the spot just so that my race could be safe. I might even cry with them.

According to reports, before the killing began, they offered a prayer for the safety of the people and the deliverance of the hogs that shared a common place with a few of those infected. If hogs could only understand, they should know that they will be killed for the common good. A countdown was made; and one by one they were shot. Pet activists were present to make sure that the killing was efficiently done in the most "HUMANE" way possible. Nevertheless, they too had to freeze their hearts although they were already breaking.

We're such complex creatures. Even though it was a smart move to eradicate pigs as part of a safety measure, I just know I wouldn't be able to do it. I'd rather incapacitate a burglar than an ant. And the fact that I know that I'm a meat eater, doesn't make me any different than those who kill hogs for a living before it gets delivered to my plate or delivered for my own safety. In this regard, I am a coward. These hogs might have surrendered to the rules and reasons humans created for them, but I couldn't be able to enforce it face to face. As long as I'm safe, healthy and enjoying my occasional burger I would be willing to be oblivious of the process. But I can't help but to find myself surrendering to my pysche and emotions, which could make me suffer from occasional heartbreak. I am a human and a complex carnivore praying for the death of those I love to eat and be set free at the same time. If that's not crazy, I don't know what is.



Sunday, March 1, 2009

The New Concept of Survival

TEMPE, Ariz. — Mark Cooper started his work day on a recent morning cleaning the door handles of an office building with a rag, vigorously shaking out a rug at a back entrance and pushing a dust mop down a long hallway.

Nine months ago he lost his job as the security manager for the western United States for a Fortune 500 company, overseeing a budget of $1.2 million and earning about $70,000 a year. Now he is grateful for the $12 an hour he makes in what is known in unemployment circles as a “survival job” at a friend’s janitorial services company. But that does not make the work any easier.

“You’re fighting despair, discouragement, depression every day,” Mr. Cooper said. (TIME.com)

It's sad, but it made me think. If I were to be put in Mr. Cooper's position, what would I do? Would I have enough bravery to do what he did? I would probably say yes, but it will take time and internal battles to make it work. I wouldn't be a janitor or a baker though just because I'd eventually get fired from those too. But I think I could make a good typist, librarian or someone who reads to old, filthy rich people for a living.

Survival is the name of the game. Just like any game of survival we cling on to whatever that WOULD keep us alive. In the primitive concept of surviving the wild or the jungle, we get ourselves dirty, strap off our good clothes, eat manageable to unsanitary food and find ourselves so far from our ideal way of life. That is such a primitive concept of looking at it because now we have a new concept.

Affluence and security are easily targeted in this global recession that leave couples and professionals crippled. Top paid executives have now become janitors, bakers, call center agents and contractual professionals.

Prestige, Power and Pride, things that these people once hold valuable, are traded off for one thing that helps them to survive. A Paycheck.

But the Paycheck of Survival is not always promising. It might come from professions these people wouldn't think of doing. A top manager and an executive, doing janitorial work, is mind and heart wrenching. A corporate executive doing call center jobs and baking weren't realistically acceptable. It's a harsh world and merely "surviving" puts us in that spotlight.

In my opinion, no one should ever feel retrenched or fired in their entire lives unless they deserve it. It's like a relationship that has gone sour when you have no idea what you've done to deserve it. It's even worse than cutting relationships because emotion is not the only thing on the line. In unexpected cutting of jobs, emotions and actual physical lifestyle are challenged. After retrenchment, another challenge seeps in underemployment.

But when survival is concerned we wouldn't care for trivial things. We tend to shove away pride and all intangible things that we hold dear for that one paycheck. We'd worry about fulfillment and success later. The justifications of continuing to live, lies in each and every one of us. In Survival, we cling on to every bit of hope no matter how unattractive it might be. In survival we must never lose hope.