Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Divisoria Experience

Divisoria during summer.

Divisoria is not for the faint hearted.

My Mom and I heard mass at 6 this morning because she didn't want to go to Divisoria late in the morning. Traffic on the way was very light and we reached Divi before 9. Surprise, surprise! All the parking spaces in 168 and nearby streets were already full. We were lucky to find a spot in an eskinita. Good thing we had Manong Lito drive us since the guard wanted us to leave the keys. Manong Lito stayed behind with the car.

At 9 a.m. 168 was already bustling with activity. I think everyone who didn't go out of town was there! We just passed through 168 and walked towards Ylaya which was already very crowded. Promptly got lost inside of Yangco building and had to be rescued by one of the keepers of the shop we were going to visit (in Galvez building pala). Went back to Yangco building to get to Tabora which wasn't as bad as Ylaya. Got some ribbons from Morning Glory and some sinamay at a street vendor.

Got a pedicab to Reina Regente since Mom and I had about 5 huge bags of stuff. It took us an hour to get to Reina Regente from the corner of Ylaya. I tell you, Divisoria during the Christmas season is not for the faint hearted, but it is still the best place to get everything you need at the most practical prices. (Oh the pedicab driver was mean, we were just supposed to pay PhP50, he asked for PhP100 instead!).

We weren't able to go back to 168 anymore because there was just too many people. Bitin!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Anger and Power

When anger rises, think of the consequences.” - Confucius

That was the opening line of Fr. Rudy Fernandez in his homily last Sunday and it stuck in my head. Fr. Rudy cited a traffic altercation he experienced in another country. He was the one who was wronged, but even though he was angry he surprised the other guy by giving him a pleasant greeting. The other guy was taken aback and the anger just dissipated.

The homily was still on my mind all day Monday since I've been wanting to update my Homegrown blog every week (have failed miserably). Mid-afternoon I was surprised to see Avel's Plurk about unconfirmed reports that more than 40 people were killed in Maguindanao. A number of them were his media friends. Later on it was all over the news.

I still could not quite grasp what happened in Maguindanao. I cannot understand why people were massacred and news reports say that it’s because of warring clans. The area reportedly has warlords ruling over the territory.

The struggle for power. We’ve seen this happen again and again throughout history and it usually involves bloodshed and death. The want for power seems to always have anger involved and innocent people are always victimized in pursuit for it. We always see this plot in movies and telenovelas, but it's really shocking to see it really happening.

A lot of people in the blogosphere have been asking what can be done. I honestly have no idea what we can do about this because this is really big, big stuff. What my Mom always tells me is to start with yourself and pray. And going back to what Fr. Rudy said when he quoted Confucius, "When anger rises, think of the consequences."

Hope you can take a moment of silence to pray for the victims and their families. God bless!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Marriage License Experience


My Mom always took care of my documents and eventually she taught me how to do things on my own. That didn't mean though that I liked doing "grown-up" stuff. The internet though has been very helpful though and it's much easier now to prepare stuff before going to the government agency involved (like how I renewed my passport).

Tying the knot involves a LONG document trail. I had to go to two churches for my baptismal and confirmation certificate. Requested for name change at the Diocese of Paranaque because the church misspelled my name in my confirmation certificate. My original birth certificates from NSO disintegrated during the flood. Good thing you can now easily request for your birth certificate and the ever important CENOMAR by ordering online. Whew!

We kept postponing our trip to the city hall because... well, just because. We planned to get our marriage license back in October, but Ondoy happened so we moved a lot of stuff to a later date. We originally planned to get it from Marikina, but ended up in Paranaque because we felt that things haven't settled in the area.

So THE day came and we prepared all the docs we needed (original and photocopies). We went to the Paranaque City Hall, found the Civil Registrar's office and we were immediately let in the office. A civil servant checked our documents and then gave us the application form. We filled it out, had it notarized (PhP50 only) and then paid for the application (PhP200). We then met the Civil Registrar (multi-awarded based on all the plaques I saw in her office). Everything just took less than an hour.

I'm so glad we processed our marriage license at the Paranaque City Hall. We did not encounter any fixers unlike my friend who processed her license at the Las Pinas City Hall and she paid PhP1,500!

Special thanks to Ms. Ma. Elnora L. Espiritu, City Civil Registrar of Paranaque, and her very kind staff for making the experience painless. And thank you to Kuya Edwin Budayao, kagawad of Barangay Sun Valley for my barangay clearance.

If we had these kind of civil servants there's definitely a lot of hope for our country.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Googlers try Chicharon Bulaklak

A few months ago I had the pleasure of capturing on video some visitors from Wordpress and Firefox who tried out balut (day old duck). This time around I had some visitors from Google try out chicharon bulaklak (fried pig intestines). I can't quite pinpoint if they liked it, but they were good sports. Here's the vid -



Thanks Mickey, Nikki, Christine and Diana!

*Chicharon Bulaklak at Congo Grill, PhP180/plate.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Passport Renewal Experience

My passport got mutilated during Typhoon Ondoy. Good thing though that I managed to transfer it inside a bag which I threw in my closet. I wanted to get the bag from my closet but water was already up to my chest and I knew I had to go then. It wasn't worth the risk.

Replacing documents though is such a huge hassle. I called up my good friend, Mercy, and asked advise from her on how to go about replacing my passport. She told me to just go the the DFA site and set an appointment. I've been so busy so our Q&A went on for a couple of weeks. It didn't help that I heard rumors that everybody is required to change to old passports to e-passports lest you get turned away in other countries! Que horror! I didn't see any advise about it though on the DFA site. My friend also advised to get an e-passport.

So I went to the DFA site and requested for an appointment. I saw the reply a few days later in my spam box. They replied immediately but unfortunately the reply went in the spam box so I wasn't able to see it immediately. They were very accommodating when I requested for specific days.

Last night I asked my friend Mercy again about going to DFA. I've just been renewing my passport via mail the past few years and the last time I went my Mom accompanied me that's why I was apprehensive. My friend told me, "Mag-ingat ka sa fixers! Dumiretso ka lang sa loob dahil may appointment ka na."

I'm glad that she gave me that bit of advise because fixers were swarming outside of DFA. They had "Pasay City Mayor's Office" IDs on and you'd really think that they were legit. When I went down the car someone immediately escorted me across the street and said I should get a form inside one of the stalls. I said I already had an appointment. Another guy approached me and said in a loud voice, "Kumuha ka ng form dun sa stall kasi di ka papapasukin!" And then another one said, "Agency ba? Agency? Dito ka! Dito ka!" I felt really harassed and I ran to the guard who I felt was working for the DFA. I told him, "Manong, hinaharass na nila ako, may appointment ako." He immediately let me in the DFA premises.

I brought with me the following:
1. Print out of the appointment email.
2. Original passport
3. Photocopy of my passport
4. Affidavit of Mutilation (had my Dad do it for me)

I just got a form at the gym (just get it from the guard) and then went inside and went to Window 26 (you can go to W26-28). There are seats by the window where you can fill out the form. There are also photocopy machines inside. The staff was very nice even though I missed filling out some stuff on the form (I was dazed because of the fixers). She also provided a free affidavit of mutilation which I just filled-out.

After processing my papers at window 26 I went to the cashier just outside the door and then went to the second floor to have my photo and thumbprint taken (applicable only for e-passport). Went back to the gym to pay 2Go to just deliver my passport at home next week.

I finished everything in less than an hour. It was a great experience save for the awful fixers outside of DFA (I wonder when they'll finally get rid of that) and the fact that you aren't allowed to smile on your passport photo (you should see my license!).

When in doubt just visit the Department of Foreign Affairs website, they have extensive info on the site.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mahna Mahna

Here's what I got from hanging out with Sweetie and Juned last night at the Mall of Asia:

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Initial Approach

My muse woke me up today. Unbelievably early for a Saturday! I was dreaming that I was in a bridal funhouse with my high school girl friends. Weird huh.

So my muse woke me up. It's been bugging me the past few days to write and I know I should've been writing down the stuff it's been whispering to me, but I've just been so dead tired running around the country!

On the plane yesterday I couldn't help but think that I'm currently at the initial approach to settling down. Life is just like a plane ride. There are times you are up in the air, down on the tarmac, bumping along air pockets, but you essentially just have to buckle up, be ready and alert and enjoy the ride.

My life hasn't been a smooth ride, but I always believed that things would settle down when the time is right. Here's a couple of things I can say about getting married:

1. It's exciting! Years ago I dreaded the thought of marrying, I guess I just wasn't ready then.

2. Wild! The time between the engagement and the wedding day is definitely wild and will force you to sharpen your decision making skills.

3. It will make you palpitate! My former boss told me, "Ah so you're moving into the dark side." I've been getting a lot of advise from friends, business contacts and colleagues about being married, but despite that I feel like I'm about to zip down an endless line.

4. Crazy! I've been told time and again that getting married is something you really have to think about. But I say that if you think too much about it you'll probably end up unmarried.

5. Happy! Of course! Who wouldn't be?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Time

There are some things that money cannot buy and one of those things is TIME. I learned though from a mentor that you can actually expand your time. If there's something that is not your competency, you can most likely just hire someone with that skill and have them do it for you. It saves you time from having to learn something from scratch and it frees up your time to do other things. This thing reminds me of my not-so-favorite subject, Quatech (quantitative techniques) and my white-haired professor who spoke gibberish all term. I eventually passed the subject by doing self-study (a skill I used to pass Procter&Gamble's management exam).

Anyway, I digress. Lately I've been so pressed for time and I realized that it's something that I should learn to manage better. And here are some things I've been doing to maximize my time:

1. Do a daily task list.
2. Prioritize, if there's something in the task list that's not so important, do it the next day.
3. Get others to help you (thank God for my girl friends, they are more worried about the wedding than me!).
4. Do what you are supposed to do. Do not procrastinate (talking to myself).
5. Make sure things don't fall through cracks.

Family first though.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Earthquake!

I rarely experience earthquakes because when it hits in Manila I'm either in transit or in my basement. I don't really remember the last time I actually felt the earth move.

I was busy reviewing my slides for an event tomorrow when I suddenly felt the bed shake. I looked around and didn't notice anything moving. The bed kept rocking and I said to myself, "Oh boy I really need some rest!" I don't know how long it lasted but another thought crossed my mind, "Mumu!" I prayed that it was an earthquake and (1) not me dismantling; and (2) that it wasn't an invisible guest welcoming me here at the hotel.

Oh well, be safe everyone.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The City of Golden Friendship, Cagayan de Oro

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting Cagayan de Oro, my second this year (and I'll be there again next week!). My dear friend, Honey, who I believe is the reyna of CDO showed us around and here's a short video blog of the places we managed to visit.


Detailed posts will be placed at Lakwatsera Ako in the coming weeks.

Panagatan
Candy
Divine Mercy Shrine
Del Monte Pineapple Plantation (Bukidnon)
The Del Monte Steak
Ostrich and Crocodile Farm

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Philippines Business Stimulus Package

Front (L-R) Derek Callow (Google), Commissioner Mon Ibrahim (CICT), Mr. Monico Jacob (STI)
Back (L-R) Benette Alinduza (GoNegosyo), Mylene Abiva (PMA), Thelma Dumpit-Murillo (CITEM)

Google together with the Commission on Information and Communications Technology, GoNegosyo, Philippine Marketing Association, Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions and STI launched the Philippines Business Stimulus Package.

The packages offers the following for SMEs:

1. Free advertising on Google - get PhP2,000 worth of Google Adwords credits.
2. Website development from STI. The first 200 qualified businesses get it for free. For those who don't meet the cut-off you can have it made for only PhP3,000. (Details are here.)

Here's a video of Derek Callow, regional marketing head of Google Southeast Asia, talking about the project:


I've been in the online advertising industry for 8 years now and I think this is an awesome project that would surely help SMEs understand better how they can utilize the internet for their business.


(Thank you so much to partners supporting this project).

Sunday, November 1, 2009

This is It!


Managed to find some time to watch "This is It" with Sweetie and Miguel yesterday. Typhoon Santi almost ruined our plans, good thing though the storm cleared up by mid-morning. I was really looking forward to watching the movie (and cramming some wedding stuff).

Awesome.

Amazing.

Fantastic.

Genius.

And in CDO-speak, "Tsada!" (which means wonderful).

And I was left panting after watching the show because I felt like I was dancing along with Michael Jackson (my toes were) when he was doing all those amazing moves and he was looking really good even at 50. It would have been THE concert to watch and I would have definitely watched if he went here.

"This is It" is a MUST watch show and I'm not just saying that because I am a fan of MJ.

And here is one wish I have for tonight. I will keep praying that it will happen. (To my Mama Lola, Papa Lolo, and Tito Tony in heaven hope you also intercede. I miss you all!).