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31 December 2007

Cleaning Up For The New Year

Today, I've been busy cleaning out my cabinets, physical inbox of papers, throwing away old receipts, expired coupons, useless or outdated scraps of paper, cut an old credit card into bits and pieces, and moved a box of stuff with old memories to the storage room. A lot of sorting out involves deciding what to throw away or retain. Lots of decisions to make... being outdated makes the decision process easier though.

All this is to welcome 2008 with a fresh and clean start. This time, I also plan to actually make a New Year's Resolution list... and follow it. I'm also planning on putting a US dollar bill in my wallet and leave it there permanently. No particular reason I could think for putting the dollar bill except so that my wallet will have another currency and won't be empty.

I hope the year of the Rat will be a good year for me, my sweetie, my family, my friends and my work.

Keep your hands safe from firecrackers so you can blog another day !

Happy New Year everybody !

Luxury Buses

The last bus I rode was a Victory Liner bus headed to Baguio. I wasn't able to try their deluxe buses which I heard has a restroom inside... but that's okey.

I've seen a double decker bus a couple of months ago parked at the World Trade Center. I never experienced riding one too. If I would, I'm taking the upper deck.

Buses with TV's and DVD players are common as well. One bus I saw had 2 TV's, with the 2nd one suspended halfway from the entrance for those at the back.

But the one that topped it all off and a first for me to see was this luxury bus parked near Meralco Avenue in Pasig City. Looking through the bus window from outside, the bus seemed to emit some bright yellowish lights from inside. After staring at it for a few more seconds, I realized that this bus had a chandelier ! It was around 1.5 feet high suspended on the aisle part of the bus. Now that's classy !

Where Did The Baby Go ???

I was at Eastwood last week with relatives and we had dinner at the Serye restaurant. They had a patio type of area outside the resto where you could see the stage and sidewalk from.

While eating I noticed this lady which looked like she was with her family. She was texting on her celphone. She's the one in black sitting on the side of the fountain area.

After a few minutes, I was surprised to find her sitting somewhere else. I had a couple of witty remarks but the one that stood out was:

"Where did the baby go ???"

Runner's up were:
"That's a huge baby !"
"The baby can text !"
"Can strollers accommodate that kind of weight ?"

I do hope the baby isn't still in the stroller.

13 December 2007

Drive Thru Is Not For People

Around 2am, I was driving along C5 going home and decided to grab a snack to take home. I was near the Libis area and so figured that the McDonalds branch within Eastwood would be the perfect place since they have a drive thru counter and are open 24 hours.

After ordering from the speaker, I was told to proceed to the check out counter to pay and get my order. Upon turning, I saw 2 people who looked like they worked in a call center and were on a break. I thought they were just standing there but soon enough I noticed that they were talking with the crew member inside. I wasn't able to pull up the car close enough to the take out window cause of the 2 people. After observing for a few seconds, I realized that they ordered and were waiting for it to be served.

At this point, I could also see the counter inside the fastfood through the drive thru window and noticed that there wasn't any line at all. So I immediately became disgruntled considering that instead of serving me, the only car lined up at the drive thru counter, I had 2 people in front of me. Why they didn't order inside is beyond me. So the usual 1-2 minute wait at the drive thru turned into 5-8 minutes. I really wanted to tell the 2 people to line up inside next time and at the same time remind the McDonalds crew member to entertain only customers with vehicles ordering via the drive thru. But it was 2am and I was kinda conserving my energy so I let it go.

It just ticks me off that the real essence of the drive thru is not being used properly. Bring a car, motorcycle, tricycle or even a bike for all I care... just don't use your feet and walk up to the drive thru.. that's why there's a counter inside the store. Perhaps next time when I encounter the same situation again, I should park my car inside the store next to the counter and order from there. LOL!

10 December 2007

Can Grannies Rock ?

Last week, the GMA morning show Unang Hirit celebrated their 8th anniversary at the Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall bundled with a show filled with raffles and entertainment as their appreciation for their avid viewers. I'm not sure but I hint that a lot of their viewers are elders who are awake this early to watch them.
I wasn't really watching... just listening since I was nearby. I did hear one of the hosts, Regine Tolentino announce that some bands would be performing too. Shamrock, Sugarfree and Urbandub were to perform.

I did take a peek when Shamrock performed. What I noticed was since this is an early morning wholesome show, there were a lot of lolas seated in front. I immediately wondered if the lolas can handle the live band rock music they were set to experience up close. I figured Shamrock is not very loud in terms of rock and can even be considered a bit pop. Sugarfree is on the rock side but could be mellow, as they rendered their revival version of Apo Hiking Society's "Batang-bata Ka Pa". What I was interested to see though is how would the lolas react to Urbandub's music... which is loud and heavy. I dig Urbandub's music but would the elders do ?

I thought they'd cover their ears from the loudness, considering they were seated strategically in front of the huge speaker system. Unbelievably though, they were clapping to the music... something you wouldn't see by rockistas unless the band initiates it.

It suddenly struck me... may be these lolas don't have perfect hearing anymore. And so any loud music would sound as normal volume to them. Hmmmmm.... I wonder...

03 December 2007


Today I seemed to have accumulated a couple of "car" stories worth mentioning. It's a Trilogy with no relation from one to the other. I just wanted to call it that cause it sounds movie-ish. ;)

1. The right-front tire of my car has been leaking out air more frequently last week. I only had time to check it out today when I noticed that there must be a hole in it. After paying a visit to my suking Caltex repair bay where I get my "suking" vulcanizing services done, my mechanic found a 1.5" nail pierced into the tire. My poor car... it's been walking with a splinter all this time. I got my Toyota's feet patched with medicine and a bandaid. :) Now it's all pumped up and back to normal. Yehey !

2. I was in the parking lot of a mall getting ready to leave when suddenly this sports car dashed through the parking lot as if it were in a drag race. If I were still walking in that same parking lot the time he dashed to the exit, I would've scared the wits out of myself.

3. In the mall, there was a Chevrolet display with 2 cars. I passed by and was shocked to see a chubby guy sleeping inside the backseat of the car. He had his mouth wide open too. I don't think interested buyers would want to try out the car with him inside.

23 November 2007

ATM Hangs

I've been fortunate enough that my ATM has never been captured by an ATM machine (ok... M stands for Machine so it's redundant, but it sounds much better don't you think ?). I remember being frustrated that the person in front of me had his ATM captured...frustrated because I couldn't use the ATM and I was next in line after lining up for around 10 minutes.

Just recently though, I experienced something quite out of the ordinary (for me at the very least) when I was widthrawing from a BPI ATM When I was finished with my transaction, the ATM gave me my card back and issued a receipt. I found it odd at first that the machine ejected my receipt without any notice. Usually, the screen would remind the user to take the receipt. 10 seconds after I took my receipt then did the machine prompt that I take my receipt. I thought it was just a delayed message since I press keys very quickly when I use ATMs. I was disturbed though that the machine was kinda stuck on that screen prompt and didn't loop back to it's initial state ready to accept a new user/card.

I couldn't leave the ATM for fear that my card, even though already ejected and safe with me, was still logged in to the network. I've used a similar ATM (UCPB ATM at SLEX Caltex or Petron Rest Stop) wherein you enter your ATM card, key in your PIN and then upon successful logon, immediately ejects your card but still allows you to conduct any transaction.

I thought of trying to enter my card again so I could sort of log in and log out properly to be safe. However, I was scared that since the ATM didn't seem to be functioning properly anymore, may capture my ATM. I wouldn't want to risk that. Since I didn't see any security guard nor person that I could talk to, I just situated myself nearby waiting for someone else to use the ATM. I kinda looked like a suspicious person awaiting a victim, which I consciously tried to hide the fact that I was interested in finding out if the next person to use the ATM can access their account without error and not my account.

After 3 people going to the ATM and trying to logon, they all left cause the ATM seemed it hanged. I guess it's either a glitch or I press keys so fast that the computer couldn't keep up with me and caused a buffer overflow or something. Since the ATM was then rendered useless, I felt more comfortable that if I can't access the ATM, no one can... until authorities reboot or fix the machine.

So make sure you check that you're properly logged out after your ATM transactions just to be on the safe side.

22 November 2007

Bumper to Bumper ? Crash My Ride

Traffic was really bad everywhere in the Metropolis last week. I tried to avoid some traffic by passing through some shortcuts but eventually, you'll need to use a main thoroughfare.

In my case, I avoided C-5 by using EDSA. I had no idea traffic would be as slow as a turtle.

Right near EDSA Buendia in the midst of crawling traffic, I was startled that my car moved when I knew my foot was on the breaks. I realized it immediately that I moved when I checked my rear view mirror and saw the car behind me kissing my car's rear. I immediately turned on the hazard lights and went down to see what happened. It was a white Fortuner SUV that bumped me. Good thing EDSA traffic then was at a standstill or else we would've been honked by drivers left and right for causing more traffic. I checked for any hits, scratches and dents on my car. I didn't care about theirs, since it's their fault to begin with. All I noticed was that the car plate's plastic cover got smashed and left a 3 inch crack. I was glad that was all there was. And so to shorten the discussion time of what to do (negotiate, wait for police or debate on who was right and who was wrong), I told them it was their fault cause I wasn't moving at all when they bumped me and since the only casualty I found was the cracked plastic plate cover, I said that could be easily replaced by buying another one for around P200. They immediately complied and gave me the P200. I left them a last message to be careful even in traffic and went back in the car.

While still stuck in traffic, I was pondering on what just happened and came up with these thoughts:
  1. If you're going to be reared by another car, the best (in a series of worsts) situation is in traffic where all the cars are running at a very slow pace. So chances of high-impact smashing is least likely to occur.
  2. I got bumped by a bigger car (an SUV). In this case, your bumper doesn't touch their bumper. So look upward for any dents, scratches or hits. My license plate and the area below it (near the trunk base) got hit.
  3. Keep your cool even though you're the victim. Panicking or accusing won't help in a situation like this. Try to even out the situation in a calm manner (no matter how your innter thoughts would like to smash the hell out of their windshield).
  4. When both of you leave the scene where the accident occurred, let the car at fault pass you. If the car was careless enough to bump you, chances are it may happen again, even seconds or minutes afterwards. And at this point, you already know the car, just avoid it.


It's been a long time since I've seen a rainbow, moreso witnessing a full rainbow from end to end. Yesterday during a gloomy afternoon on my way home, I was able to take this picture from my celphone. Based on its span, I'd say one end is somewhere in Pasig and the other is in San Mateo, Rizal.

14 November 2007

Sumayaw Ka !

The previous post was a bit too heavy. I need to loosen up.

And since one of my favorite things to do is dance, here's one of my favorite songs lately by Gloc 9 entitled "Sumayaw Ka".

Included in the video are cameo appearances of Dice and Hi-C (formerly known as Dice & K9), Looney of Stick Figgas, Ron Xplicit and the Windbreak Dancers, with the sexy Jenni Ilustre.

You could also check it out at

Sayaw na !

My Rant: Curse You

I rarely would consider ranting about some personal topic... and there hasn't been any personal topic worth ranting about online or publicly for that matter.

However, this is my blog and as much as I'd like to keep it lively and in good spirits, I just need to vent out right now for my own sake.

I've encountered profanities from people who use it habitually like in telling stories with such emotion and I know that there isn't any intention of cursing being talked to. It's just a habit of some. I can live with that. I myself don't curse and don't intend to.

I never was affected by cursing. For me, it was just words said with emotion. I can look past that. I guess it's because I try to avoid conflict and try to approach it head on with reason. Also I know that I can utter words that are far more hurting with the content and depth of their meaning than the sheer gratification others attain from mere cussing.

I have never been cursed by someone directly to my face or at least that I'm aware of... until now. My stubborn, unreasonable, undeserving relative cursed me with a raised voice earlier. I wasn't supposed to be affected. Yet, coming from a relative, it merits weight... weight that you'd feel will penetrate your emotions and inner self.

I won't go into much detail... let's just say that this person has lived with us for years without having to pay for a single cent nor be required to do anything to help the household. Yet this person has no gratitude at all and worse, has a terrible addiction, making this person untrustworthy, deceptive, conniving, and untruthful to name a few. This person has a totally twisted form of logic and can be considered in an "unstable condition". I consider this individual a "loose canon", a "helpless soul", a "useless human being" and a "menace to society".

As much as I have controlled my anger and tried to use reasoning, this person has gone too far. I have hidden much anger when this person actively and enjoyingly tries to provoke my mom. I fear for my mom of having high blood which is why I need to be the calm one to appease her. However, earlier, I felt that I have reached my boiling point and even though I myself don't have any heart conditions, I actually felt my chest hardening from anger. I have never felt such negative emotion in my life, which is why I feel I need to pour it out.

To this relative causing much tension in our quiet household, I've stopped praying you change for the better because I have done so for so many years. Yet the depth of turmoil you cause this home is irreversible. You lie, you cheat, you steal. You cause chaos and scandal. You cause us grief and heartaches. You bring dishonor to our clan. You do not deserve the good life we provide you. You use people. You're pretentious. You are not worthy to be a relative.

God bless whatever soul you have left.


I got a call earlier from Standard Chartered Bank inviting me to avail of a credit card from them. I did, actually, but not with the person who called a while ago. I was offered to apply for one 2 months ago and I went through the regular process of Q&A and submitted some required documents for approval.

I got an SMS message the other day notifying me that my application has been successfully approved and to expect the card in the mail any day now.

So this is the same thing I told the telemarketer on the phone. It seems they don't keep track of whom they've called, whom they're processing and whom who already have cards. When I told her that I've been through this exact same process 2 months ago, she proceeded to ask me for any referral. I told her again that I did the same thing 2 months ago. I already referred a friend told her I'm out of friends to refer to. LOL ! What an answer.

Anyway, she answered me in a perplexed manner... I guess she was scratching her head realizing that I was a dead lead. Actually, I was a successful lead since I did apply when I was offered the card 2 months ago. What they fail to realize is that they shouldn't be offering someone the same thing they previously offered. I would understand another card provider or bank offering their card brand... but for the same entity to offer the exact same thing ? I guess everyone needs to reach their quota in time for Christmas.

13 November 2007

Embarassing Way To Lose

One of my recreational activities to "de-stress" myself is playing some video games.

Earlier today, I passed by Timezone. I rarely play Tekken 5 cause I'm not familiar with the button sequences for special moves and gameplay in general. I just keep on pressing all the buttons using different pressing patterns and hope that I get lucky and win a fight.

If I do decide to play Tekken, it's when there is no one else playing. I dread seeing the "A Challenger Awaits You" screen cause that means that someone at the opposite end is playing against you in a 1-on-1 battle.

Luckily, I got through stage 1 with a breeze. Right in the middle of stage 2, my gameplay was interrupted with the dreaded screen, notifying me that someone just joined in and will be going head on with me. I would have rather fought the computer but I had no choice. So against my will, our battle with the unknown person at the opposite end and I fought a 5 round battle.

No matter how fast I tried pressing those keys, I eventually lost.

I was very curious to see who just beat me. And I was shocked... it was a 5 year old kid with his yaya keeping him company carrying his bag. Oh My God ! That sucks... not to mention how embarassing it is to lose to a kid less than half my size.

Well, so much for Tekken. I'm sticking with the Battle Gear racing game where I have much more experience driving and have better chances of beating a 5 year old.

03 November 2007

Reconnecting With The Dearly Departed

This year is a first in a long time. I was able to visit both sets of grandparents in their respective cemeteries. On November 1, we went to Loyola Marikina for my lolo and lola from my mother's side. And On November 2, we travelled to Batangas to visit my lolo and lola from my father's side.

I was able to acquaint myself with all of them except for my lolo from my dad's side. He died the year I was born, 3 months before to be exact. My dad only had 2 pictures left of his parents together. Both of them have faded and it's difficult to distinguish any details from the pictures. So aside from not having met my lolo, I have no recollection at all how he looks like.

Since we were in Batangas, we also met up with our last known relatives who haven't migrated nor moved out of their hometown. My dad's sister-in-law was still there. Her husband (my tito) passed away several years ago but she is survived by her son and adopted daughter.

I was parking the car when my parents went ahead to visit our relatives. I couldn't find them since I didn't know where their house was. It was a maze of houses and so I just waited near the car hoping they would remember and fetch me. When they did, my tita accompanied them. After I made "amen" to her, she was so excited at how after all these years, she's seen me again. The last time she saw me was when I was around 12 years old.

She said something unexpected that made my day and in fact made me connect with the lolo I never knew.
Her exact words uttered in sheer excitement were "Kamukhang kamukha mo si tay! Ganyan ang itsura niya nung bata pa siya. Kuha mo lahat, pati kilay, mata at hugis. Parang nabuhay si tay !" (You look like father ! He looked like you when he was young. You have all his features, his eyebrows, eyes even the dimensions. It's like father is alive!) She was referring to my lolo. Having no recollection at all of how my lolo looked like, it was such a beautiful revelation. I looked like my lolo. So even if my lolo has passed away for over 3 decades, I feel I have connected with him in spirit.

For the lolo I never knew and never had a chance to meet, I love you. Thank you for being a part of me.

31 October 2007

Halloween Carols ?

Let's face it, Halloween isn't a traditional Pinoy celebration. It's popularly known as American tradition surrounded by the premise of scaring people and dressing up in costumes imitating popular personalities, fictitious characters and pop culture icons.

Some exclusive villages and subdivisions do celebrate Halloween's tradition of knocking at houses' doors and exclaiming "Trick or Treat!", hoping for treats in the form of candies. Some people though would rather offer a "trick" than a "treat".

A couple of nights ago, a couple of kids gathered in front of our gate. I thought it was an early Halloween "trick or treat". I was surprised to find out that they were singing Christmas carols. It's either these kids got their holiday dates mixed up or they're really excited about Christmas.

I feel that I was on the end of the "trick".

30 October 2007

When 10 Pins Are Not Enough

I mentioned previously that the sound of bowling pins being knocked down are music to my ears. It's not a sport I am good with though. I don't even get to play regularly. And I have a pathetic high score.

I already have a hard time trying to knock all 10 pins down. So how about more than 10 ? How would others do ?

How about 30 ?
Check this out:

Let's try 45 pins:

More ? Okey... 100 pins:

How about 100 pins without a bowling ball ?

How about building your own imaginary bowling scenario ?
Bowling + Rollercoaster = Fun!

I couldn't stop myself from adding that last clip. It had me in tears from laughing. Relax people, it's just Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, the video game. (Note: No one was harmed during this video.)

Your Fortune In a Cookie

I had lunch at Chowking the other week and I noticed that they were advertising fortune cookies beside the counter. The last time I had a fortune cookie was when I was a kid. So it was exciting to be able to crack one open, eat the cookie and get your fortune.

I can't quite remember the fortune I got but it was a safe and general message. The funny thing was that it said that I won't be able to achieve anything by sitting down. And where was I when I was reading that ? Sitting down inside the Chowking fastfood restaurant. So I guess it's tough luck for me huh.

Before leaving, I bought another one to bring home for my mom. When I gave it to her, she opened the wrapper and broke the cookie. The strangest thing happened. There wasn't any fortune inside. I had the impression that every fortune cookie had a fortune. So it seems that this is one unlucky fortune cookie, not living up to its essence. It's even worse for the recipient awaiting and expecting a fortune, not to receive one and could mistakenly be interpreted as unworthy of receiving a fortune.

06 October 2007

Video Phone Calls

I own a 3g compatible mobile phone which makes video phone calls possible. I just don't use it cause If I wanted to see a person, I'd meet up with them rather than see them on a 1 inch screen. Plus, I'd rather have the caller hear my voice than see my mouth moving.

Ok... I've put up a lot of excuses... but the one I'm particularly concerned about is getting caught offguard.

Last night a colleague of mine in the music industry called around 9 in the evening. It was a video call. I'm sure it was a business-related call and I immediately was concerned that since I was at home, I was just wearing my sando and shorts home clothes...which isn't business-like at all. However, it was late and the person who called me was also a friend so I didn't think much of my attire. While we were talking though I was walking and finding a good background. It's the vanity in me finding a way to make me look good with a decent solid background. (I didn't even have time to comb my hair).

I guess having a video phone means you have to be presentable at all times too. I'm definitely not answering a video phone call though if someone calls in the middle of the night.

03 October 2007

Random Thoughts

I have lots of thought-tidbits I've been compiling lately... not really enough for it to be discussed as an entire post. Plus I usually think in bits... so here's my random thoughts top 10 (in no particular order)

1. Two kinds of sounds calm me down... ocean waves and bowling pins being knocked down.

2. Don't get stuck in traffic after a rectal examination... unless you can stand up like in the MRT or crowded bus.

3. If you want to learn how to skip merienda, eat lunch at 3:00pm

4. Greeting people on their birthdays are great ways to get back in touch with those you've lost contact with. (Thank God for friendster birthday alerts).

5. The Yellow Pages have gone a long way from being just "yellow". I recently discovered they're now in color (on yellow colored-paper).

6. Based on our 2 terrier pups which were placed for adoption, people who want to buy puppies prefer female over male. I guess a dog who looks like a female doesn't pass buyer standards.

7. Check the clothes you wear before going out. If you discover a hole, go back home to change, go buy a new one if you're out or worst case, remember the location of the hole and keep it secret so no one knows.

8. Determine beforehand how many glasses of a beverage you can drink before choosing between a single serve and a bottomless drink.

9. A game a day makes me a happy Jay.

10. Piolo Pascual is flawless... and makes you realize what features you lack, are underdeveloped or simply don't have.

Lastly, I'd like to mention that this past month has been an emotional rollercoaster, filled with mysterious twists and unexpected turns. But now, it's smooth sailing on a leveled path with no bottom slopes... always at the top. My best friend was always there riding beside me. It took me 10,000 miles of separation to realize that. Thank you sweetie for coming into my life.

24 September 2007

The Power of Outsuorcing Expands to Mortgages

Since outsourcing has gained much popularity in companies and organizations, almost every skill and process can be outsourced now.

What used to be conceived as potential hazards such as fear of sensitive information leakage, off-site uncontrolability, miscommunication and lack of efficiency and urgency are now but things of the past. The barriers and misconceptions have been broken and now welcomed as a business blessing.

I used to know only of call centers who where mainly offshore outsourcing warehousing hundreds of employees trained to act as an extension of the foreign companies. When you asked someone who worked in a call center what they did, they'd say, they'd talk to customers and clients the whole day.

Nowadays, oursourcing has expanded not only to include customer support via voice or data, but to include tasks based on particular skillsets.

One of them is Mortgage Outsourcing. Infinit-O is a leading company in the Philippines whose services include Mortgage Outsourcing. Leave the implementation and operations to them whether it may be a particular part of the process or the entire workload from start to finish. Companies can now set their efforts in attaining goals and targets and leave a bulk of the backend processing to their trustworthy outsource partner. It's much more convenient and gives the company the satisfaction and security of having support and the tip of their fingers.

17 September 2007

Hacking Into Your Gadgets

My MP4 player had a very loose connection with the earphones that when you plug an earphone in, it slowly falls out. My remedy was to place several rubber bands to prevent it from doing so. The downside is that my screen is filled with multicolored lines... not from the video clip, but from the rubber bands literally placed above the screen.

After tolerating this for a month, I drew a bit of inspiration from George Hotz, the teenager who spent his summer vacation hacking into his iPhone to unlock it and use it for other mobile networks. He literally tore apart the phone and was able to put it all back together unlocked.

Well, I'm no hacking genius, and moreso will freak out using a soldering gun on any valuable gadget. But I did have the courage enough to unscrew the case of my MP4 player and find out what's causing my earphones from sliding back out.

Upon closer inspection, I discovered that there was a break in one of the metal connectors. It was so tiny and I had no idea at first how to join them together. I dare would use glue for fear that I might short circuit something. So I got an office supply near to the appearance of a thumbtack. It's used for fastening paper on envelopes, yet I have the slightest idea of what you call it. Anyway, I cut a piece of it and inserted it under the broken connection.

And presto ! Now I only need one rubberband instead of 10. Oh well, I told you I'm not a gadget fiddling genius. But I'm just happy that I was able to do something to make my life less time-consuming.

28 August 2007

Disappearing U-Turns

Last week I was at Eastwood to meet up with a couple of media friends to proceed to an MTV shoot along C5. My usual route is passing through C5 from the newly built Diosdado Macapagal Bridge and I know where all the u-turns are situated.

To my surprise, the two u-turns I could take going to Eastwood were gone...blocked by huge concrete dividers. And so I went all the way to the Ortigas intersection and underneath the flyover was the nearest u-turn. That was already quite far from Eastwood. So I got to Eastwood late. Good thing someone came in later than me (could it be because of the same problem I encountered?)

When my friends and I finally decided to leave for the shoot, we later found out too that the next 2 u-turns that used to be there were blocked and so we went all the way to the flyover and underneath was able to make a u-turn.

Aside from inconvenience, this is time and gas consuming. Imagine being stuck in traffic in the opposite direction of where you're going. I'm getting farther than where I want to go.

I thought this was worse enough but the other day, I caught MMDA changing the u-turns on Marcos Highway. This one is much worse. Instead of removing the U-turns, they mofidied them so if you take one U-turn, you can't change lanes and would pass your destination cause of an additional fence dividing the road. This causes you to take 2 u-turns, one on the main road and another at the nearest block accessible after a long pink fence divider. Sounds confusing ? Cause it is.

It's making my trips inconvenient now. Plus I think this new setup is more accident prone.

I hope MMDA notices how much more traffic they've caused and do something to fix it.

15 August 2007

Floods Revisited

This early morning, heavy rains poured non-stop... and one of the perks living in certain unlucky parts of Marikina is that you can get an instant river right at your doorstep courtesy of the floods. Good thing the rains stopped and the sun appeared. Nevertheless, these flash floods don't subside immediately cause we still have to wait for the rains from our very generous neighbors, Montalban and Antipolo for their residue to rage down the Marikina Valley.

Here are some long-range shots of the floods nearby. You could guess by the bicycles in the pictures how deep the water is. As for the picture with the yellow rails, the left side where the guy is walking is a street, and to the right of the yellow rails is a creek at least 15 feet deep. If there were no rails, you wouldn't know if you were walking on the street or heading towards the deep waterway.

As long as it doesn't rain for the meantime here and in nearby areas, this flood will subside in 1-2 hours. My problem is that I have to wait before I could get out.

12 August 2007

Eighty-eight Pesos Worth of Inspiration

I was at the Trinoma Mall earlier and I was looking for a particular item which could be found at the Japan Surplus shop where everything costs only P88.

I didn't find the item I was looking for but I did find this cool LED display which had three lights changing every second on a circular mirror base. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with this. And so when I got home, I placed my transparent autobot insignia on top, turned off the lights and left my mouth open in awe.

It was too much of a moment to pass up so I took my webcam and took a video of it in the dark, added video effects and a robotic melody and here it is.... P88. worth of inspiration.

04 August 2007

TimeZone is My Escape Zone

One of my favorite past times to break the monotony of my work and at the same time serves as a stress-reliever is playing some games at the nearest Timezone branch.

I finally got my Timezone Gold card. What do you need to be eligible for one ? You need to have spent a total of P5,000. to get one. I had no idea I accumulated that much playing only a handful of games.

So what do you get out of a Gold card ? Aside from some discounts from certain establishments, you get the VIP rate of each game all the time. And my favorite benefit is... getting a free game everyday. It gives me reason to pass by Timezone everyday just to take advantage of my cool daily freebie.

Aside from those perks, there's also the chance to invite 7 other people within a 1 month span before or after your birthday, to join you in a 1 hour play-all-you-can session . I had planned to get my barkada's children with my inaanaks to join me so I could treat them to a good time. Unfortunately, all of them were unavailable. Good thing my college kabarkada closest to where I live had three boys who were all free to join me. I could see the excitement in their faces to meet up with me at Timezone. Including their dad, all 5 of us played for 1 entire hour. It was lots of fun and one of my kabarkada's kids even gave me a humongous squeeze of a hug for treating them to Timezone.

Timezone rocks ! I wonder how much you need to get a franchise. Cheaper than Jollibee I'm sure.

01 August 2007

Kering Keri

I've seen the famous Cebu Prisoners imitating popular dance sequences... then there's also the Japanese algorithm dance that's spreading on youtube...

Now there's the Kering Keri Rejoice Shampoo commercial dance by Kim Chiu being imitated. There are a handful on Youtube. The only disturbing thing is that there are guys doing the dance. The choreography really does work better with long hair and if you're a girl. Oh well...kering keri ko 'to...

23 July 2007

Judging For The Awit Awards

I've been accustomed to taking a backseat role or hiding behind the scenes and taking on a low profile in much of what I do.
I've been a musical arranger but been behind the scenes, with our karaoke product in the limelight. I've been webmaster and creator of several websites but been distancing myself from the websites so I don't get associated with them. Last year, I also remember being the official photographer for the prestigious Awit Awards, another behind the scenes role. And for the past 2 years, I've been one of the judges for the Awit Awards.

Not that I'm not proud of the other projects and positions I've held in the past, but being invited to judge for the Awit Awards is something I'm proud enough to announce rather than be passive about it. It's nice to be considered and acknowledged for having an ear for musical talent, not just by friends or peers but from the very industry that recognizes Original Pilipino Music, that being the Philippine Association of the Recording Industry (PARI). And through the PARI's Awit Awards, the best artists are given due recognition.

This year, it's an honor to be judging side by side with the likes of Lito Camo, Christian Bautista, my good friend TBowne from 101.1YES FM, one of my favorite musical arrangers, Jimmy Antiporda and other distinguished judges bringing experience from various aspects of the music industry. It's also interesting to see if my picks win.

Check out the article I wrote with the list of nominees, winners for the pre-awarding and a couple of pictures I took from the event.

19 July 2007

Internet Mobile Marketing Awards

Years ago, the mobile phone was primarily used for voice. Nowadays, the use of mobile phones for data is just as much crucial as voice. Mobility, easy deployment, compact form factor, interconnectivity, availability and ease of use have all contributed to the success of what the mobile technology is today.

As for the internet, what may not have existed as a major industry two decades ago, is now one of the most exciting industries around. The fast-paced evolution of the internet is one that companies should keep up with, to take advantage of the latest business solutions it has to offer.

And while marketing has been around for the longest time, it's the fusion with the ever-emerging and technology evolving internet and mobile which has driven visionaries to use this tool the fullest extent.

And what better way to find out if you're one the top players in the industry than to
Submit an entry to the Boomerang Awards: the 1st Internet and Mobile Marketing Awards.

The Boomerang Awards is holding its first Internet and Mobile Marketing Awards in the Philippines to give recognition to marketing campaigns that have utilized the internet and mobile devices as tools to meet business objectives in the most creative and breakthrough manner.

Internet and mobile campaigns launched in the Philippines between January 1, 2005 and March 31, 2007 qualify to enter this event.

For more details about the Boomerang Awards, visit http://www.boomerangawards2007.com.

18 July 2007

The US Embassy Experience

I haven't been to the US Embassy in Manila for a long time. The other day, my dad asked me to accompany him to get some documents and inquire about something.

A tip for those crossing UN Ave towards Bayview Hotel. The red light for pedestrians never turns green. We waited for more than 5 minutes patiently hoping the red man sign would turn green but it didn't. We had lots of chances to cross the street but simply didn't cause the UN Ave-Roxas Blvd. intersection was swamped with MMDA traffic officers. They didn't seem to care though about the pedestrians since all they were trafficking were the vehicles.

Upon crossing Roxas Blvd, we were greeted or rather approached by people who were offering photo ID services. They even had a lot of samples of ID pictures and sizes stuck on a long folder for display. It kinda looked like a friendster page to me.

I was warned by my friend not to bring a celphone but I forgot, and I didn't want to leave it in the car. There were 2 lines you needed to go through before entering the Embassy premises. One was for security to ask what's your business. You go through a 2nd line where only 2-3 people at a time can enter.

Once you get inside, you'll pass through their security door similar to those in the airport. I was asked to pass around 3-4 times, with each time, unloading something that could possibly trigger their alarm. First was my celphone, then my mp4 player, followed by my keys, and last were the several coins in my pocket. The alarm still triggered and I told the guard that I have nothing else metal on my body except my belt. Thank God he didn't ask to have my belt removed and took my word for it.

Next up was to surrender all celphones. I saw a sign nearby that said "Celphones are not allowed for VISA applicants." I told the guard that I wasn't applying there to apply for a VISA. But he said that there are no exceptions. That was really weird and I didn't want to argue so I just surrendered my phone. I even forgot to turn it off. You need to provide an ID for each item you're surrendering. I was also asked to surrender my MP4 player perhaps because it looked like a phone. And so I had to surrender a total of 2 IDs.

Finally, we got to enter. You'll pass through several doors depending on where you're headed. And these doors are heavy ! It was tiring trying to exert much effort to open each door. No wonder some people, would let you pass them. So you'd open the door and they'd follow you to avoid the effort.

We got to the inquiry area where we had to pass through another security door and leave an ID in exchange for a visitors pass. I was running out of IDs and good thing the guard accepted my credit card instead.

There were lots of people inside. We had to take a number and be seated. It took us around 45 minutes before our number was called. Good thing I brought a book with me. Unfortunately, I didn't realize the title of the book I brought was entitled "Inside Internet Security - What Hackers Don't Want You To Know" and suddenly let out a slight tremble, for fear that I may be perceived as suspicious or a threat (to National Security?). And so leaving the premises, I held the book so that the back cover was showing instead of the front.

It was a unique experience sorta like going through a maximum security penitentiary.
I'm just glad I don't have any business which will require me to visit the US Embassy in the near future.

17 July 2007

Instant Noisy Neighbor

Our street is a busy major road but neat, clean and orderly. One day, our street was suddenly infested with gatecrashers. They wrecked havoc, used their toys to slit our road, caused mayhem traffic and went on a marathon rampage to injure our strong road. And then, they moved in and became instant neighbors. They were always awake and noisy.

I'm talking about the MWSS or as I like to consider them, the city gophers, who destoy the roads and sidewalks, dig deep holes to install some pipes, and leave the scene of the crime with an ugly scar.

Without any prior warning, several officials with the MWSS uniforms came by the dozens, followed by another dozen or so workers containing the area with "caution tapes" as if our neighborhood is being converted into a containment facility to prevent any outbreak. Then the noise continued non-stop as the workers started drilling away a part of the road followed by our sidewalk. They also parked a bunch of their company vehicles across our street, some pickup trucks, vans and company cars followed by machinery equipment and power supply. The last and surprising addition to their stake, was a mobile trailer, complete with windows, blinds, air conditioning and a water dispenser placed near the entrance. It seemed like that was their new headquarters. Beside this was a huge tent with lots of monoblock chairs serving as their secondary outpost.

In a couple of hours, our once, quiet and peaceful road was transformed into an MWSS boot camp.

What was disconcerning was that we the homeowners, residents and neighbors weren't informed of what was happening. So most of us was just looking at what was going on as it progressed. We asked them what happened and it seems that a major water pipe got busted in our area which is why they need to replace it. When we asked if our water supply will be affected, we were told that they'll turn it off in the evening. Guess what ? Before lunch that day, were already waterless. Our disgruntled neighbor was furious cause she was cooking that time and needed water.

It was also strange to see a whole lot of officials in the scene watching on, discussing and at some points of the day, looked like they were celebrating a party with food and drinks. Usually, I'd see only workers at the scene but this seemed out of the ordinary.

Well it's been a week now and we've been enduring the sounds of drills, a regular honking of horns due to traffic and the inconveniency of backing up our car to whats left of our road. At night, the road is still bright because their powerful search lights. I woke up at 3 in the morning one day and still saw them working.

If us homeowners were only properly informed of what was going on, as well at their work would be clean and neat, I'd have no problems with them. I'm just looking at the positive side to this, being, our water source is being upgraded.

I just fear that what I've witnessed with some areas may be the fate of our road as well. When they're finished, there's a big chance that our road will never look the same again... sort of a facelift for the worst.

14 July 2007

How To Conveniently Accept Credit Cards as Payment

Developing an e-commerce solution usually includes the general perception that you need a to tap a lot of resources and fully integrate them. The likes of creating and acquiring a robust website, a web hosting provider, a registered domain, a merchant account, a content management system, a security certificate, a shopping cart seem to be essential in conducting an e-commerce business.

However, nowadays, with a myriad of websites offering third party support, you may not even need any or all of these to conduct online transactions.
If you're wondering how to accept credit cards in the Philippines with Email Billing, it's possible and currently available. YESpayments, a Philippine based company, who provides an internet payment gateway for E-commerce, offers this convenient service for entrepreneurs who intend to charge their customers or clients via credit card.

The entrepreneur can easily log into the Yespayments website, enter the information needed to bill the customer/client and Yespayments will create the billing statement information. What's more convenient about this service is that the entrepreneur gets a copy via e-mail of the billing statement along with details on how to pay, which can then be customized or personalized to reflect the entrepreneurs' branding. Even some personal notes can be included before forwarding the e-mail billing statment to the customer.

The customer then receives the e-mail with instructions on how to pay, which is basically clicking on the link redirecting them to the YESpayments website for the credit card transaction payment facility. Everything else is securely provided by YESpayments so the entrepreneur need not worry about credit card fraud, security issues, a merchant account nor confirming payment.

Furthermore, the service isn't ideal only for physical goods but also with services rendered, which makes the option flexible. Surely, this makes entrepreneurs easily accept credit cards in the Philippines with Email Billing, without spending a lot on resources. To learn more about YESpayments, you can visit their website at http://www.yespayments.com.ph.

13 July 2007

Customizing is the Name of The Game

I can't remember anymore if I mentioned that I have a slight obsession to modify my Toyota Corolla. Blame it on playing the video game Need For Speed & Fast & Furious plus more recently, watching Transformers The Movie.

After checking out some auto accessories stores and canvassing at some car shops, I've come to the conclusion that I don't have the budget for any major modification. So any 17" mags, adding bumpers, spoilers, sidesteps and the like will for now remain a dream.

What I was able to do with my limited budget was customize my car by adding some reflectors, stickers and minor car accessories.

Out of frustration, I decided to turn my customization obsession to my laptop. Thinking of how my laptop would stand out, I wanted to place some neon lights on the cover, but haven't been able to go to Gilmore where the computer haven awaits me. So with the extra car accessories I bought which I didn't use for my car, I thought of adding them on to my laptop. What is supposed to be applied to the car doors to prevent it from being dented, is the exact same thing I placed on top of my laptop. I also added some other visuals to make it more appealing and hip.

I'm pretty happy with the outcome cause it doesn't look like a standard laptop anymore.

I still plan on placing two blue or red neon lights wihch would intersect at the top center highlighting the autobot insignia. Great too while the Transformers hype is still at an all-time high.

I wonder what else I can do to my laptop ?

09 July 2007

These Fingers Were Made for Pressing

I just took this test to determine what type of finger you are based on your personality.
I'm a thumb. Never really appreciated my thumb than my index finger.

Just looked at the way I type and I was surprised that I use my middle fingers the most followed by my index fingers in typing. Interesting. We had a typing class in high school and were trained to use all fingers on a typewriter. It seems I've deviated from the norm and I least use my pinky fingers in typing. No wonder they're puny, weak and prone to injury.

I consider the computer keyboard way easier to press though as an organ (the musical one mind you, for the lingering naughty minds) is to a piano. Of course I could get heat for what I said from piano players. But that's another topic.

Anyway, here's the result... I kinda agree on the analysis.

You Are the Thumb

You're unique and flexible. And you defy any category.
Mentally strong and agile, you do things your own way. And you do them well.
You are a natural leader... but also truly a loner. You inspire many but connect with few.

You get along well with: The Middle Finger

Stay away from: The Pinky

01 July 2007

Kept Hostage By A Parking Lot

I was at the Ayala Center 2 days ago set to attend the monthly Digitalfilipino.com eyeball. Whenever I'm in the Ayala Center area, I only park either at the Glorietta 3 underground parking (between Shangri-la Hotel and Hard Rock Cafe) or at Park Square (with a bridge connecting to Landmark and Glorietta 2 I think). The venue for the meetup was at the EGG internet cafe which was located at Glorietta 4. I've never been to that cafe before and I was running late so I decided to park somewhere closer. I decided then to try parking at the Glorietta 4 underground carpark, which is below the fountain/park.

I was surprised to learn that this parking lot leads directly to the Glorietta food court and cinemas which is convenient. The meeting ended early and next on my agenda was a 9pm album launch in the Ortigas area. So I decided to hang around Glorietta for a while. Around 7:30pm, I was set to leave Makati. I went down to the carpark, started the car and was ready to leave when suddenly, I couldn't find my parking card. I searched for a full 5 minutes in the car and even took out a flashlight to check underneath the seats, but couldn't find it.

I suspected that I may have dropped it somewhere in the mall. And so I retraced all the places I've been to in the mall and asked the security and customer service officers at each location if they found any lost parking pass but got no luck in doing so. Being an OC person, I was really frustrated that I couldn't find it nor remember where I placed it. I couldn't reconcile the fact that I misplaced it. By this time, I knew I was going to be late for my 9pm event if I didn't leave yet. And so I went back to the parking lot and asked the guard on duty how to proceed with a lost parking pass. I was asked to provide license & registration. To make matters worse, my face and license number are literally erased providing me with as much identification as a fake license. It's a good thing I had an additional SSS ID with me.

So after filling out a form, I was told to bring the receipt to the carparking checkout booth and pay a total of P260. P200 is for the lost card (which I can reimburse at Ayala Customer Service if I do find the card) and P60. is my parking fee. I wasn't really concerned of the amount. I was more concerned that I wasted time looking for the card which I never found and being late.

Anyway, I was late for my 9pm event at Ortigas. I got home past midnight and discovered the darndest thing. As I took out my laptop to recharge, my carparking pass fell to the ground.

I was actually happier to discover that I never lost the card, I just misplaced it. Now Ayala parking owes me P200.

28 June 2007

More Than Meets The Eye

I have been a fan of the Transformers since 1986. I wasn't able to collect all the toys then but I do have a decent collection. I'm particularly proud of my Optimus Prime collection. Also, I've been a follower of their evolution from their simple diaclone pre-Transformers Japanese toy appearance to their current form and storyline. You could say I can pass for a Transformers historian.

I have mixed reactions on the newest release of the Transformers saga, being Transformers The Movie. I may be considered a purist for admiring the original storyline and first generation of transformers. I wasn't too thrilled with the new looks of the original cast of transformers characters. As hi-tech as it looked, I didn't like their complex transformations. I did want to appreciate the special effects but the camera had its panning set to frenzy. I would've appreciated it more seeing the robots transform from one angle and camera shot.

Knowing that there are hundreds of characters included in Transformers Universe, I was disappointed to see only a handful of them introduced and used in this movie. It may be intentional for a possible sequel, plus I understand that the movie is limited to time constraints, but whether there'll be a successor to this movie or not, there are much unused characters, plots, personalities and history which could've made the movie more exciting.

On the other hand, all the hype of the transformers has led to a renewed interest for those who used to watch their cartoon when they were kids as well as a new generation of youngsters who now know who Optimus Prime and Megatron are.

Aside from their new transformations, the original toyline and its variations are also being brought back, not to mention at a much affordable price than before.

Overall, I am pleased that the transformers are back. And I hope after this movie, there is still more that awaits the eye.

... Till all are one...

25 June 2007

Starting A Startup

"It's not an easy task" would be my opening thoughts. But the potential integrated with your personal vision is what makes it all worthwhile.

I recently read an article about Guy Kawasaki, co-founder of http://truemors.com who documented the steps he took in putting up a dot.com entitled "By the Numbers: How I built a Web 2.0, User-Generated Content, Citizen Journalism, Long-Tail, Social Media Site for $12,107.09" and he tells his story which may seem inspiring to others given the 7.5 weeks he mentioned this all took place. It's sustaining and maintaining the website long after it's gone live is what's important. I've seen dot.coms come and go, startups with brilliant concepts, and visionaries with much passion. However, when it comes to actually putting everything together and implementing it, it requires more than that.

I myself am to embark on a new but exciting period in my website's life, that is making it shine as it has never shined before. Time to crank up the volume and let this baby blossom by being seen, read and heard by all. Wish me luck !

19 June 2007

All Around the Web

I used to envision having my own website with everything online I needed on it, images, blogs, articles, polls, comments, files, video... just about every type of content that can be made visible on the web.

However, it does take time to build all of these and integrate it in one website. I know I can do it but I don't have the luxury of time in doing so.

And so, I succumbed to using various websites for different purposes, blogspot.com for my blog, friendster for my social network, multiply as a backup, youtube for videos, and picasa and flickr for uploading pictures.

What I used to dislike, being scattered on the net is the very same thing I'm doing right now. I guess it's also giving in to what's being popularly done. At least I have my own domain, web server and e-mail so I don't have to rely on other free services. The only thing I don't like about being scattered on the net is having to log on to each one for a particular service. I haven't really consolidated all my content except for just placing links.

So here's what I have so far...

http://www.jaydj.info - My Main Blog
http://jaydj.multiply.com - My mirrored blog
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaydj/ - A couple of pics
http://www.friendster.com/jaydj - Friendster Network
http://www.youtube.com/user/jaydj - My videos

Aside from that I do have my portfolio and resume but that's for professional purposes only and upon request. It's a good thing my username jaydj, isn't very common to be taken by somebody else.

11 June 2007

Life In The Fast Lane

Since using the internet in 1996, I've primarily accessing the net via dialup modem. Even though through the years, speeds of dialup increased from the 14.4k modem to the 28.8k, 33.6k and top speed of 56k, I've only been able to reach a max connection of 33.6K

I've manage to survive with this kind of connection ever since. I've created my own system to fully utilize my slow connection. My work ethics is also based on the system I created. The basic premise is that my internet connection must not be idle at any given time. Hence, before I go online, everything in well-planned and ready to execute. Here are some of the rules:

  1. E-mails are answered offline and sent in batches when I go online.

  2. New e-mails are also being downloaded from all my e-mail accounts.

  3. Files for uploading are queued and ready to upload simultaneously while downloading another queue of files.

  4. Websites to be visited are all on a written list and are loaded one at a time in the browser with a maximum of 5 websites.

  5. From midnight to 8am, huge files are queued for downloading (logfiles, database backups, huge file uploads).

  6. Some online tasks are automated and ready to run at certain hours of the day when internet is free or I'm asleep (windows update, anti-virus update, daily site backups).

  7. During weekends, I allow entertainment or non-priority files to be setup for download (video clips, games, trial software).

Enter 2007... Files these days have just grown immensely huge that my queued files are getting longer and longer and my work backlog is simply accumulating. I was able to survive by going to hotspots equipped with wifi and using 3g on my mobile phone for high-speed internet access. A couple of friends were surprised to learn how I could survive simply on dialup, especially being an internet consultant, web site owner and technopreneur.

It was still manageable. However, it was becoming more costly to meet the demands of much needed bandwidth. To make matters worse, our phone line went berzerk which made even the simplest task of sending e-mail unberable.

And so, eventually, I decided to get a broadband connection and thus subscribe to DSL.
I'm so happy with my speedier connection. It changed the way I use the internet now. The rules I've created no longer stand. I can send e-mails immediatley after composing them. I don't have to queue files for download at a later time because I can download them now without waiting for a century to retrieve. I can now watch streaming videos online. I can leave my computer online without worrying if the hours on an internet prepaid account are ticking away. I can send files online faster. Heck even my computer seems to run better now.

I guess the first sign of sadness if ever, I'll be feeling about my new broadband connection is when the first billing statement arrives. Nevertheless, being an internet superuser, I feel it is worth every peso.

Now on to my new set of problems.... gotta have more disk space.

30 May 2007

Newly Invented Pinoy Tongue Twisters (Animal Theme)

Most of my tasks lately have required me to overuse my analytical and intellectual capabilities and underutilize my creativity. A chat with a friend earlier inspired me to take a break and shift my creative element to high gear for a change. This is also influenced by Ms. Jaymee Joaquin, host of ABS-CBN's "Games Update Live" show which keeps me awake and entertained during the early mornings, who's fond of using rhyming catch phrases like "Let's go sago" and the like.

That being said, here's my list of newly invented Pinoy Tongue Twisters bearing the theme of "Animals".

  1. Pumalpak ang palakang pumapalakpak.
  2. Butihin butiki nakikiliti.
  3. Patok ang manok sa balut.
  4. Promise, ipis manipis di makatiis.
  5. Daga may dagta, nataga ng taga-dagat.
  6. Kambing mukhang malambing.
  7. Kalabaw sa mababaw nagtampisaw mukhang mamaw.
  8. Milyun-milyong ibon nabaon kahapon.
  9. Asong napaso nanibago sa payaso.
  10. Alimango tumungo sa bangko deposito ng munggo.
  11. Nagkusa ang pusa magblusa na parusa.
  12. Maling kuting tinangay ng hangin.
  13. Pagong talon sa balon nung umaambon.

29 May 2007

How Fast Can Money Travel ?

I remember years back, during the pre-internet days, there weren't many options on how to send money to another country.

Sometimes, my dad used to ask for favors from his nephew in Chicago to buy some things which aren't readily available here in the Philippines. He then, gave instructions to have it sent here from the USA via mail, sometimes in a balikbayan box or a smaller sized-box if it wasn't that much. My cousin there had no problem granting the favors and buying the things my dad needed. The problem which usually arose was how do we get to pay him.

Slipping money in an envelope or card sent by regular postal mail was dangerous. Electronic wires from banks to banks were expensive. Also, the currency exchange rate which varied on a daily basis prevented us from paying the exact amount. It was either always more or less. So we had to send more just so our payment wouldn't be short from the actual total. There was also the option of waiting for your relatives to spend their vacation here, wherein you could hand them the payment in person... which of course, had no certainty of pushing through and could take anywhere from months to years before it would happen.

The same was also true for some of our other relatives sending money to us. They had to find ways of sending it over. Most of the time, it was through a friend of a friend who was going back to the Philippines. It felt awkward at times meeting up with a friend's friend cause you don't personally know the individual handing you over the money. And you need a great deal of trust at the least when dealing with money.

As years passed, some new options emerged. However, it still wasn't that easy. You needed to open bank accounts, fill out extensive forms, provide multiple identification and after all that, you'd be issued with limitations on how much to send or receive. You still needed to call the recipient if they got the money you sent still. So it basically involved more steps just to send money.

Come the internet era and more options are now available as technology progressed. Instant Internet Remittances using Credit Cards is a convenient and secure service of sending money now to your loved ones in the Philippines. By being equipped with just your credit card and and internet connection, you can send any amount online to a recipient with a debit card. Your card will be charged with the amount you sent as if it were any other ordinary credit card transaction while the recipient will receive the same amount as if someone has deposited money into their account. Upon receipt, the recipient can widthraw the money from any ATM. SMS notification is also available so the moment the money is added to your debit card, you'll be notified with an SMS text message.

Fast, cheap, instant, convenient... all rolled into one... now makes sending money a breeze.

22 May 2007

Trinoma, The New Mall By The Block

Trinoma is the newest mall on the block, or shall we say, literally beside The Block (within the SM City North EDSA area).

When I mentioned to my parents of this newly opened mall, they decided we should visit it. After all, it's only once a mall is new. After that, it gets older. And so last sunny Sunday, we toured the new mall.

I wasn't able to get the mall's name right as a few days before, I was trying to think what the name was. The following names were floating in my mind: Tribeka, Tribola, and Trimona. And behold, I didn't get it right until a friend pointed it out to me that it's Trinoma, short for Triangle North of Manila.

Our approach to the new mall was hindered by what seemed to be a new access road prolonging Mindanao Ave. Coming from Quezon Circle, there wasn't any left turn at the intersection leading to Trinoma. If I needed to make a U-turn at Mindanao Ave, I was definitely in the wrong lane. Afraid of being caught for swerving, I just crossed the intersection and made a U-turn at the first island break which was the break also leading vehicles from the opposite lane into SM North EDSA. Good thing there wasn't any "No U-turn" sign nor traffic enforcer ready to flag me down.

Alas we got to the new access road fronting Trinoma. Although a bit confusing, the parking architechture was different from the standard mall parking. The parking lot alone had a bird's eye view of its "close" competitor, The Block.

When we got inside Trinoma, we started looking for the food outlets already in service since we hadn't eaten breakfast and it was close to noontime. We found the biggest fastfoods on the ground floor to be KFC, Jollibee and McDonalds. Interestingly enough, Jollibee had comfty couches which made it look classier than the usual swivel foodcourt-type chairs. The center was huge, similar to Glorieta and Market! Market!'s core, ideal for shows and events. There was a playground on one side for kids.

There were four floors with each section of a floor having its own theme shops. The second floor for example, contained computers, celphones, sports, and watches all bunched by their respective categories. The foodcourt had a unique shape with a balance of tables and couches for those who prefer to feel at home.

The fourth floor has huge carousel in the center dividing the play area (Timezone) and the cinemas.

If you thought this was just about it, there's more !

When you get to the top floor, there's a huge outdoor area where a lot of restaurants are soon to open. It's beautifully landscaped with several paths leading from one side to the other. When you're in this area, it doesn't seem like you're on the top floor of a mall, as this wide outdoor area has no traces of the malls exterior.

When you get to the end of this area, you'll be welcomed by an upside-down fountain, or at least water sprouting from the 3rd floor that shoots up and strategically splashes on the small pool on the fourth floor. This particular area is circular with lots of additional restaurants and coffee shops soon to open for all four floors. The two establishments already open are Gerry's Grill and Cabalen (I think). There's much more to explore in this mall especially since it's just newly opened and there aren't much stores open yet.

I have some personal comments though:

  1. Some places in the mall are hot. If the malls' airconditioning is centralized, how come Timezone and Handyman are extremely hot ?
  2. The tiles used on the ground floor don't seem too much spectacular. Okey, it's mediocre. It makes you feel that the mall isn't new. The upper floors however have better tiling.
  3. I was wondering why the food court had a lot of couches. If I would want to sit in a couch, I wouldn't want to be in a foodcourt. And if I had to eat in the foodcourt, and there were no more tables available, I wouldn't want to eat with my plate on my lap on a couch.
  4. The stoplight in the North Ave-Mindanao Ave. intersection should have left turns coming from all directions since they opened a new road extending to Trinoma.
  5. The sliding doors are great ! I couldn't find the entrance and exit signs for these sliding doors at first. No wonder, they're multi-directional. :)
  6. Some of my favorite eateries will soon open at Trinoma, Zong, Sbarro, Krispy Kreme and the one which got me really excited, Taco Bell.
  7. Landmark hasn't opened yet. And we couldn't find the bridge leading to the MRT yet. But these are big plusses once they're operational.
  8. I highly recommend trying out all the barbeques at Reyes Barbeque. My mom tell me the Reyeses' are behind Aristocrat. They taste the same even down to the java sauce.
  9. The parking attendants (inside the paybooths) seem to be tourtured with no ventilation except for an open door. They don't seem to have any electic fan or any sort of ventilation inside their booths.
  10. Some parts of the multi-level parking lot are dim. Parking space allocated for vehichles are larger than the normal. So 3 Ford Expeditions can fit side by side. Our car suddenly looked small though parked beside them.
  11. The escalators have a red & green light to their left before you get on one. I'm just not sure what they stand for. I definitely won't stop if I see it red even if the escalator isn't running.

Overall, the mall has great potential to be a one-stop shop, dine and have fun.

19 May 2007

Double Dose Day

I had a terribly hectic sched last Friday and contemplating on it (or more of still being overwhelmed from all the tasks I endured), I think I've done a lot of things twice ! Let me try to recall why so...
  • Been to two malls (Gateway, Robinsons)
  • Been to two bank ATMs (PNB, HSBC)
  • Been to two supermarkets (Shopwise and Hi Top)
  • Bought two loaves of bread (Marby and John Pullman)
  • Gone home twice (during noontime and around 6pm)
  • Had two pieces of food for a late lunch (burrito and chocolate shake)
  • Took a shower twice due to the hot weather (around 9am and 630pm)
  • Changed clothes twice (cause I was perspiring non-stop halfway through the day)
  • Bought two unplanned gifts for myself (book and shoes)
  • Experienced a power outage twice (in Club O at ABS-CBN compound)
  • Sent an important e-mail twice (just to make sure)
  • Had to access the internet from 2 public places (Netopia Internet Cafe and Club O Wifi Hotspot)

I feel that I've lived this day twice. Now, I want to try to live 48 hours in 1 day.

14 May 2007

When Your Celphone Puts on Weight

Some people accessorize their mobile phones by adding various cases, colorful straps, flashing lights, cute pouches to the unit. Others are fond of personalizing the phone internally by customizing ringtones, wallpapers, pictures and video. I prefer my flavor to be plain... as plain as the standard unit you see when it's being displayed in a store. I don't carry a celphone to show off to people... just the basics, to use as a tool for communication and transferring data.

A couple of days ago, my celphone unusually morphed itself; or as I pointed it out, gained weight.

I was experiencing frequent charging since my battery would go from 100% to 25% in less than a day. On days with heavy use, a 10 minute phone call would drain half of my battery immediately. It was frustrating enough to have to conserve my phone's battery by turning it off randomly just so I'd be able to use the phone before I could get home and charge. (I don't have a car charger). So I decided it was time to buy a new battery.

I inquired in a nearby mall and got oriented to different classes of batteries. I didn't know this prior to buying. There's a Class B, Class A and the original. They all look the same. Some are made from Finland or China. Some say they were manufactured Korea but finished in China. When I asked the saleslady what's the different, she'd say the exact same thing... this one is made in China, the other one is from Korea, that one is from Finland. It really didn't help me at all so I just based my selection on what my budget could handle.

So I got myself a Class A BST-37 Sony Ericsson which is good for my K608i unit and a K750.

When the saleslady opened my unit, we were both surprised to discover my phone breeding a bloated battery. It looked bulky enough to suspect its either pregnant or mutating. I did ask the lady if that was the reason my phone would easily drain. She concurred and in addition told me it's the combination of overcharging practices and frequent bumps, hits or falls to the ground that could bring a battery's life to a screeching low. She advised me not to use my old battery anymore too cause it might spark a fire or something like that.

I was pretty happy with the new battery's performance which was way better than my old one if you'd compare the two. I did decide to keep the worn out battery in my bag as a spare just in case I need it.

One day, I was out the entire day and forgot to charge it before leaving the house and so by early evening, my phone was already "lowbatt". I remembered the spare battery of mine and took it out of my bag. I was shocked to see that it bloated even more from the last time I saw it. It wasn't flat anymore. It was starting to have curves and wouldn't fit in my phone's compartment like a person trying to squeeze into tight jeans. I wanted to use a hammer to flatten it again.. but that was just the scientist in me wanting to experiment knowing the battery was rendered useless at this point. I knew though that since the battery is unstable, chances are, it would explode the moment it would be struck. I think the reason why my battery bloated even more was becuase I left it in the car one day exposed to the intense summer heat. That's when I suddenly scared myself of that thought. Because of that, I was even scared to throw it away in our garbage can.

So now, I'm trying to practice more strict charging habits. Gotta take care of your battery or it might gain weight.

10 May 2007

Info You Retain and Lose

Funny how you'd remember certain things, lessons, events and somehow at the same time forget things, lessons and events. How does your brain pick which to remember and forget ?

The other night, me and a batchmate of mine were talking and the subject moved to his kids taking Tae Kwon Do lessons. Since he wasn't very familiar with the martial art, I told him a couple of things like the belt colors, stances, kicks, discipline and some bits of useful info. The other night, a colleague of mine also had his kid enrolled in summer Tae Kwon Do classes and while his daughter was present, I was able to tell her if she knew certain kicks like the roundhouse, 45 kick, in-out kick, out-in kick, etc...

I haven't been practising Tae Kwon Do for the past 5 years and prior to that I stopped for 9 years. But most of the skills and methods taught still seem very fresh to me. It's like riding a bicycle.. you know how to ride one even though you may haven't been riding one for a long time.

On the other hand, I attended a press conference last month, and I saw a journalist taking down notes using stenography. I was amazed. I remember that we were taught steno for half a schoolyear in high school. Yet as much as tried to recall what was taught, I couldn't remember a single character, stroke or meaning from it. All I could remember is that you can buy a steno notebook which has a unique dimension than a regular notebook or pad. That's about it !

I don't want to ponder on what I still remember from my Theology and Philosophy classes in college. I might get disappointed for not remembering anything but the teacher's name.
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