Friday, February 27, 2009

My Evolution

I was going through some really old photos that I scanned a few years ago and I couldn't help but wonder if I could've been someone else based on what I was back when all I did was have fun.

(Oh and this is my answer as well to all the tags I've been getting on Facebook!).

Exhibit A

Yes that's me as an angel during one of our parish fiestas. I was the only one though that had a bag on (my favorite red back with a butterfly design). I was about 4 or 5 then.

Exhibit B

A bayanihan dancer? I doubt. I was 16 years old when this photo was taken and I remember that my foot got caught in between the bamboo. (My partner though is now the famous,  Nyoy Volante).

Exhibit C

A professional tennis player! My Kuya taught me how to play tennis, but unlike him and my sister, I never brought home a trophy (coz I never joined any tournament!).

Exhibit D

A beach bum who does henna tattoos... hmmm. Nice idea. But I don't know how to draw.

Exhibit E

I guess I can say that this photo represents the "all-time-me" because I think I haven't changed any since my Ate took this photo when I was a kid. 

So how did you evolve? Tagging my dear friends: Sweetie, Andrew, Winston, Blogie, and Juned.

Changing Jobs and 100 Plurk Karma

No, not me. That thought has not crossed my mind for several years now because I am where I targeted myself to be.

Anyway, the thought crossed my mind because a number of my friends over at Plurk have been thinking about moving jobs. Yesterday I found myself at the  building where I used to work 10 years ago. And that made me think, what made me decide to change jobs throughout the years?

My very first job was as a student assistant/do-everything-you can for a research institute and that's where I experienced helping out organize a conference with dignitaries as guests. My 
beloved boss was a fire-breathing dragon who used to throw around landline phones when in rage. I learned discipline. I quit because I had to finish my thesis and had to manage my time being EIC of our literary publication.

My second job wasn't so bad. I freelanced as a writer for a petroleum company. It was pretty exciting and opened up a whole new world to me. My boss was really great and she kept feeding me (thought I was too thin). I had to move though from her department to the another one for my OJT. I learned job dedication. I could've stayed, but I was advised that there was a glass ceiling for women in the company. 

I took my third real-not-student-assistant-or-freelance job a few weeks before I graduated. I was willing to work even just for the free unlimited calls mobile phone. LOL. It was for a telco and I was part of the first 500 employees (they have thousands of employees now). I was happy working in our sardine-cubicle, sharing a table with 4 other girls. I acquired people skills. I left because they were demanding for us to have 7 p.m. meetings everyday. The job paid well, but it was a choice between quality of life vs. quantity of money. It was my first job heartbreak.

After getting traumatized I helped my parents in their export business while I was taking my MBA. I lived and breathed what I learned in school through our business. I learned the reason why you have to employ people - because you cannot do everything for your business! I learned the value of being a stakeholder. I eventually moved because the orders we got from other countries did not push through because of the financial crisis. 

I worked for several companies after that and thought that I had the worst luck in the world when it came to immediate supervisors. I encountered 2 more fire-breathing dragons who never seemed to be satisfied with anything or anyone. There were days I'd find myself under my table crying, but their screaming-rages, insults and lies never deterred me. Why? Because that was the time that I really loved my job and no amount of kicking waned me from learning more. I eventually left because I thought I might lose my self-esteem. I learned to keep learning.

And just like finding the right person for me, I had full appreciation for the next job. I could not help but shed a few tears when I arrived at campus 3 years ago. Because I had found the right one. And I felt I belonged. I felt I was where I was supposed to be. And so here I am a happy worker. 

Oooohhh this post has become very long! I was just supposed to give some food for thought on why you should change jobs:

1. Don't let it be because you hate your boss. Always try to learn something from them (even if they are fire-breathing dragons).
2. You have to love your job. So if you and your job don't fit. Find another one.
3. It's also not good to move jobs every few months. Best do it every 2-3 years.


I've reached 100 karma on Plurk! Woohoo!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Summer is Here!

The sweltering heat the past week (despite some rains) tells me that summer has arrived earlier than usual. Arggghh! And I'm trying to cool myself down so I can write this post. 

Summer for me means wearing the most comfortable heat-repelling clothes and footwear and I jumped at the chance to attend and invite friends to Ipanema's launch of their campaign called "Road to 2020", a project to promote reforestation of rain forests with Haribon Foundation. We can actually help in getting the temperature back down if we plant and grow native trees. 

You might want to join the walkathon:

Walk the Green Mile Walkathon
March 21, 2009, Saturday
Parking lot near Le Souffle
Registration starts at 3pm
Walkathon starts at 5 p.m.

There's prizes to win if you join! So join na! (For more info please call Ms. Maricel Mabalot at 02-753-3647 local 103 or email cel.mabalot @

Anyway, I had a blast during the launch at Le Souffle the other night since I got to see and chat with a good number of my blogger friends - Az, Tita Dine, Fritz, Mommy Jane, Juned, Lace, Marc, GailAda, AJ, Janette, Eric, Hana, Markku, Jayvee, Mica, Winston, Sweetie, LadyCess and many more... only Jehz did not go since he was asleep, as usual (harumph)! (And no, blogger A and B aren't an item).

We were treated to a sumptuous dinner, too bad I have so many allergies so I wasn't able to taste a good number of the dishes prepared! The show performed by the Philippines Ballet Theater was totally something new and I noticed my friends watching in awe. A rare treat indeed! 

Heartfelt thanks to all my friends who went and M2.0 Communications (Doy, Cecille, Shyla etc.), ELRO Commerical and Industrial Corporation for extending their invitation to bloggers and my high school buddies, Rica and Raquel, for dragging me into this (LOLz).  

More about the Ipanema event:

Monday, February 16, 2009


One of my most popular posts is about relationships where I ask the question, "Is it better to be single or married?" I wrote this post during the time when I was contemplating single blessedness already since I just couldn't seem to find the right one. I gave myself a deadline back then, if by end of the third quarter of 2007 I didn't have a boyfriend I would enrol for PHD and I'd be single forever. I know it's crazy, but having deadlines keep me sane. 

I was on the plane back from the US on September 28 and I told God, "I give up. It's a sign for me to stay single forever." That was my last thought before I fell asleep. Who would have guessed that my best friend would tell me his feelings less than 24 hours later? I secretly liked him, but I had already accepted that we'll just be friends. Anyway, just-in-time for my deadline and my life totally changed since then. 

It's only today that I found the answer to my question, "Is it better to be single or married?" I think it really depends on you and your "constitution". Commitment is very important and being in a relationship is not all about being sweet and mushy-mushy all the time (ask Sweetie, he's been nursing me back to good health for four months now and I do get really cranky at times).

"My Dad gave this inspirational talk yesterday when he and my Mom joined their friends in a marriage vow renewal in time for Valentine's day. Dad shared this bit over dinner today -

In a few months, my wife and I will be celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary. Now you must be wondering what our secret is for staying together. There are just three things to remember:

One,  put God at the center of your relationship. He is, after all, the best referee there is.

Two, always be together for any problem or situation, be it financially, a physical problem etc. (i.e. if he need to live abroad, then you should go too!). (Mom said, "Laging may bantay?" LOL.)

Three, always put to rest any argument before you sleep. Never go to sleep with ill-feelings for each other. 

That has been our secret all through-out the years."

I get to have lunch and dinner with my parents every single day and I can't help but be envious of them since they've really stuck it out with each other. I never saw them fight and they're still very sweet with each other. They used to be quite formal when I was younger, but now they banter a lot. And Dad still manages to make my Mom blush every once in a while. 

And I hope and pray that in due time I'd just be like them.


For the first time in my life I got to celebrate Valentine's "properly". And one of the bonuses was watching Love2Love2Love at the Araneta Coliseum with Sweetie. MYMP, Freestyle and Side A performed favorite love songs and it was a blast. I have to give it to Jinky of Freestyle as well for being the best performer last night! She brought the house down! And can you imagine Joey G. of Side A raising the roof and doing a Bubble Gang chicken dance? He did! Here's some photos -

Also got to watch Rachelle Ann Go's "Falling in Love" Concert at the Music Museum. I was certainly impressed with her talent. The video on Myx showed last weekend and it does not do her talent any justice. You have to watch her perform live.  

Friday, February 13, 2009

Pilipinas kong Mahal!

Photo by JayDJ

Guess where this is? Find out here.

This Valentine's I thought I should give a little love to my country coz I think if we give a little more love to it then things would definitely change. I love being a Filipino because:

1. Our country ranks 17th out of 178 countries in the Happy Planet Index.
2. We have 7,107 beautiful islands we can explore. How many have you gone to?
3. We have over 170 languages/dialects! Wow! I can speak and write Filipino fluently, understand Bicol a bit, and understand a teenie bit of Bisaya. How many languages do you know?

Do you have a photo that shows that you love the Philippines? And tell me a bit why you love being Filipino. Let me know if you have a post about it by leaving a comment and I'll link you up on this post. 

I'll send a prize to three of those who have the most awesome photos (for those who are in the Philippines only `kay?). I'll announce the winners on March 1, 2009. 

P.S. This was kinda a spur-of-the-moment thing... so now I have an excuse to go shopping for a prize hehehe.

Why You Should Turn Your PC Off at Night

So I'm a mean Mom, I cut Miguel's PC time significantly for two weeks now. Why? Because he wasn't spending time with me. Hehehe. It's not only that though, I noticed that he was spending more time online and have totally forgotten about his other hobbies - drawing, playing the guitar, building stuff and writing stories. 

I only realized that it was just right to cut down the time he spends on the PC when I got a forwarded email about my generation being the lucky kids - because we didn't grow up with the internet. We had real friends. The issue back then was about watching too much TV... that and spending too much time playing outside. I remember I used to bike around a lot with my friends in our neighborhood. We also had all sorts of activities during summer (tennis, theater, volleyball etc.). And we'd hang-out to have merienda at the nearest sari-sari store. I don't see that many kids playing outside now.

I know it's my fault that my son spent a lot of time in from of the PC. I had him on my lap when I was doing homework and thesis back in college and grad school. I got him all sorts of learning games and gave him my old PC. We installed Linux though on his PC - TRex - when he managed to crash George because of playing games. I don't mind him spending lots of time using the PC, I just want him though to have a balanced life and not grow up as a cranky person (like someone I know LOL) who just wants to spend all his time in front of the PC. I also don't want him to end up like a friend's kid who had to go through rehab because he became very addicted to playing games and became violent whenever he was kept from playing.

I don't think it's bad for kids to use the internet or the PC, the wealth of information available for them now is astonishing. My son knows a lot more than I used to when I was his age (and he writes even better than me!). He also knows how to tweak things and is currently learning about hardware through Sweetie. It's just about teaching them how to manage their time between doing online and offline activities. And if you need to do something drastic like switching on parental control or giving them a curfew then do so. 

So now every evening my PC automatically shuts down at 9 p.m. and we chat, watch TV, ask each other about what happened during the day and I'm happy that he's also drawing again and dabbling on his other hobbies. And sleeping early is a healthy option too. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Money, Money, Money!

One thing I don't like about being a grown-up is having to balance earnings with spend. I started earning some money when I was a kid. My Mom taught me how to make gift tags using recyled gift wrappers and paper board and pincushions. We then sold them during our parish fiesta through the tiangge and for some strange reason my produce was always sold out before lunch. Mom then put my earnings in my Banco Filipino savings account (remember Banco Filipino guys?). She stressed that I always had to save.

When I started school and had a regular allowance I had to write down all my expenses and defend the raise I wanted to have. I remember starting on a 2-peso allowance, then PhP5... 10... 20 to 40 and then it flattened at PhP100 when I was in college. Unlike kids today who get their gadgets handed to them by their parents, I had to work for it. I became a student assistant (highest paid in school!) and eventually took on a freelance writing job at Pilipinas Shell before I graduated. 

It was fun then coz I didn't have bills to pay! Eventually I started working and I never did get the chance to really save because I had Miguel's tuition to pay and my MBA tuition too. I finished my MBA only because I charged my tuition to my credit card. A very bad move, but I wasn't very liquid that time and didn't want to ask for help from my parents. Eventually the horrendous finance charges (and a very persistent ex) pushed me to seek help from my parents so I could clear up the liability. 

I've since avoided using my credit card. I'd do without it, but since I travel a bit I have to have at least 2.

There are a couple of things I learned through the years about handling money and I'm blogging about it to remind myself (I'm not perfect and sometimes indulge in shopping!):

1. Buy only what you need. (advise from my Kuya)

2. Spend only within your means. (Don't use that card unless you can pay for it at month end)

3. If you get a raise or additional revenue, don't change your lifestyle. (If you used to be a fastfood person, then stick to it and don't go lunch-ing at expensive restos).

4. If you need to buy an appliance or gadgets, go for the ones that will last. Don't go for cheap ones just because they're cheap. (I have an eleven-year old TV! And I won't buy a new one unless it conks out).

5. Don't spend money that ain't yours. It's definitely just going to get you in BIG trouble. (See #2).

Investing is another issue altogether and it's something I'm still mulling over, but an investment banker told me that you should break down your investments this way: 30% for short term, 40% medium term and 30% for long term. And I'm definitely have a long way to go. 

A couple of announcements from my friends:

1. The Philippine e-Library with the UP Information and Technology Center invites you to [] on March 14, 2009, 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the UP Computer Science Building. (Bloggers can get hired to blog). For more info and to register visit this page (password: ilovetoblog).  

2. De La Salle Philippines would like to encourage all La Sallians to wear green on February 13, 2009 and to participate in their Green Love Grows photos contest.

3. There's an Android Hackathon happening on February 21, 2009 organized by Migs Paraz and Charo Nuguid, so if you're a hardcore developer who does Android development, better sign-up now!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Lipstick Jungle

My best friend's boss swears by this book by Candace Bushnell, so I figured I should read it and explain why my best friend's boss acts that way. I got myself a copy back in 2007 but did not have time to read it. I finally managed to read the book, thanks to long wait I had to do at my doctor's clinic. 

Lipstick Jungle is a story about 3 powerful women, Nico, Victory and Wendy. Nico being an enviable editor of a posh magazine had her sight on her boss' job, to become the head honcho of the publishing division. Victory, a hot fashion designer who wanted to make it more big time and who had issues about dating. And Wendy, president of a huge movie company was but having problems about her marriage. 

I liked the book because it gave me a glimpse of how things go at that level of the corporate ladder. It's scary because truth is you really need to protect yourself at work, usually because of politics and greed. The characters in the book had to do quite a number of tricks and sacrifices to be where they were. 

I had a huge argument with my Dad when I started working. He wanted me to be an entrepreneur straight-away. I didn't. And during that time I insisted that I needed to experience corporate life because I thought it was the only way I could learn the ropes. I did and more. I also found myself a mentor who eventually taught me about protecting myself in the big bad corporate world. 

I was going up too fast and getting more and more responsibilities which made some people angry. Di ko pinansin since I thought I was just doing my job and was a self-proclaimed nerd in the office, and besides I enjoyed working and working and working. I did not understand what politics meant and I was fed multitude of lies so that I would just give up and leave. 

I know I'm the type of person who is self-motivated. My work now is a perfect fit since I'm more often than not on my own and just need to check-in once in a while. When I realized back then that I was being worked on I thought long and hard what I wanted to do and reviewed my long-term plans. I was nearing 30 and I had pegged back then that at that age I would either be a consultant already or the mayor of my town (!!!). Since my political career was squashed at age 20 when my Mom refused to allow me to run for the  Sangguniang Kabataan, I ended up with a career.

So much to the consternation of my parents, I took the leap and left the corporate world at age 30 because I realized I just wanted to earn a living without the pretensions and without having to wear lipstick.