Friday, December 27, 2002

Cheryl Fuerte bagged Philippine Web Awards People's Choice Recognition

Inday - What a Girl!!!!

I'd like to congratulate Inday of for bagging the Philippine Web Awards People's Choice for her personal homepage Inday ( This lovely lass is also our web host for the website. In the last episode of the Digital Tour tv show, multi-awarded webmistress Inday was featured and talked about how Filipinos, regardless of their status, can utilize the Internet to share their knowledge and establish oneself.

Definitely, Inday is the kind of person who can be a source of inspiration to women, young and old, in showing the relevance and usefulness of the Internet. We hope to see more women become like Inday. More power to you!

Happy holidays to one and all! Do you know of any great women whose stories you'd like to be featured here? Let us know.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

How many times can one hear the word vagina and its derivatives in under two hours? I lost count when my friends and I went to see Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues at the Music Museum one friday night early this month. Since i've heard the radio ad of the stageplay i've been asking around friends if they've seen it and telling them that they shouldn't miss it. I've gathered only four and yes four is a fairly good number. Although this is the second time i've seen the english version, I was enthusiastic about seeing it again when I heard who they casted (Shiela Francisco, Belinda Panelo, and Angel Aquino). They all did well and just as I have guessed it Belinda was a crowd favorite. The audience laughter was almost endless.

Though a critically acclaimed hit since it was first staged in New York, TVM has also received a number of negative criticisms from conservative groups or individuals around America and other parts of the world where it has been staged. I've come across words like overrated, tasteless and vulgar to name a few, and I am also humored at how I think that some of these critics are actually women who downplay their own femininity or sexuality like it is more of fiction than fact. To me, it's not merely about sexuality. It's about identity. Who turned our gender into second class citizens under our noses? Without our permission? TVM is fighting for women's rights worldwide and most of all its greatest cause is the fight against sexual violence on women. And when it goes out to talk about sexual violence, it doesn't at all mean that these women are celebrating or promoting sexual violence.

Through the centuries we women have been stereotyped and treated unfairly. We were battered like ragdolls, hidden under burkas, mutilated, peddled, and sold. Although a lot has changed now since women made some noise in order to be heard, some things remain the same. It is flattering to be a woman, and it is flattering that a woman's beauty is in itself an art. We are one of many objets d'art of nature, but what worries me sometimes is that even among a significant number of fellow artists for instance, men notwithstanding, has unprofoundly exploited the feminine beauty like we were merely objects. sad but true. I am no radical feminist who wishes one day we can walk half naked in public like men, but we have specific rights that I will fight for. I share TVM's cause against sexual violence and exploitation.

we're not just all sugar and spice and everything nice. we're more than that.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

The Day I Lost My Wallet and Gained More

Last Wednesday was a bit messy, so my absence. Everything was a rush that I forgot it was a Wednesday and I needed to write something. When I realized Wednesday was over, it was a bit too late to catch up.

I guess with the hustle and bustle at work I became a bit unfocused last week, which caused an unfortunate incident. Yes, girls, my wallet got stolen while I was in the supermarket. With the Christmas season comes “dukutan and snatching” season as well, and I happen to be an unfortunate victim.

I remember the moment I realized what just happened, I stood there at the counter, dumbfounded for 3 seconds, while my 6-year old sister was looking more worried than I am since she was so excited about all the things she loaded on the cart she wanted for herself. Then I dialed my apartment’s number and called my housemate to cancel all my credit cards and instructed her to tell my dad to pick us up at the supermarket. My dad was surprised to see us empty handed and looking gloomy as my sister and I boarded the car. Then I told dad the story.

Dad was furious and would have wanted to go back to the supermarket to hunt down the snatcher. “It’s just money,” I told him. “Maybe he needed it badly. Pamasko ko na sa kanya yun.” The moment we got to the house, my sister and I grabbed wafer cones and loaded two scoops of chocolate ice cream and proceeded to enjoy every lick of it. My dad was still furious, thinking of ways to trap the snatcher like going back to the supermarket and planning to watch intently everyone who tries to withdraw money from the ATM machine. “Forget it, dad. I’m over it,” I said.

My friends who learned of my story were quite amazed at how soon I was over the incident. Well, honestly I was saddened and worried about the loss of my wallet and all the other personal things and the money (of course!) that I lost. But I guess there is no use crying over it. Besides, at least I know I cope with losses better, especially material losses. It just means I am not that attached to material things which can cause bitter disappointments and frustrations. Thank God! AAs the saying goes, “Worldly losses can translate to spiritual gain!”

See you next Wednesday!

CaRPe dIeM!!!

Wednesday, November 06, 2002


In honor of my mom's birthday on Monday, November 11, I am sharing with you a short story I wrote for my mom. On her birthday last year, I bought a hard bound book as a gift - a collection of short stories about mothers written by their daughters. Copying the book's paper and font type and size, I made this story the first feature of the book as if it was a part of the book! My mom, especially my mom's officemates who are also mothers, loved the idea and the story.


Whenever I think of my mom, several words come to mind – prayer, faith, strength, and generosity. She has been a mother, a friend and a spiritual guide to my continuous journey of faith. So many stories showing all these things she has been to me and to so many people, whether friend or complete stranger, all compete for attention to proudly showcase to the world how remarkable a woman she is. But the freshest and most powerful memory I have of her showing her at her best was last year during her mother, my grandmother’s funeral.

Inay died on December 14, 2000, on my mom and dad’s silver wedding anniversary. I remember Mama to be very calm during the wake. No bursts of tears or hysterical cries. Maybe because she has already prepared herself months ago when we have brought Inay home upon learning from the doctors that Inay was already in the late stages of cancer. Mama wanted her home so she can personally attend to her needs. And indeed she did, day and night she served her needs.

During weekends when I go home, I’d see Mama staying up late to make sure Inay is alright as Inay would always call her name if she was in pain or needed something. I saw how Mama lost so much weight and how financially deprived she was during those months that Inay was bed ridden at home. But complain she never did, despite the fact that I know how deprived she was of her own mother’s love as a child. Until Inay’s last days, she dutifully performed her duties. She did all these as an obedient daughter and as a Christian, she would tell me. In her heart she told me, she has forgiven her mother and instead took it upon herself to be a better mother. And she has been more than a better mother, she was one of the finest mothers God has ever made.

The day of the burial, she stood at the pulpit to deliver the eulogy. After the first sentence she broke down to tears. And I can’t help but cry myself and so did the rest of the family and friends who have joined us in church. The message she gave that will forever be etched in my mind was when she said “I thank God for giving me my mother and the chance to serve Him through my mother.”

That moment I saw myself years from now, hopefully several decades from now, in the exact place where my mother stood. Questions raced through my mind, coupled with fear and anxiety at such a painful thought. Will I ever at least equal my mother’s strength and her faith that has made her weather all of life’s storms? Can I be such a shining example of a remarkable daughter, sister, mother and wife she has been to us? And will I ever live a life as pleasing to God as she has been living hers? She is such a woman of great faith and courage that living up to her example will be a great feat to accomplish or at least equal.

PRAY . . .that was the first thing she taught me and I know that first lesson will help me do a fine job in honor of her. But more than all the stories she has told me and all of life’s lessons she has imparted on me through the years, one thing I will always be proud to say is that Mama has taught me to pray first more than anything else. ABCs and 123s came later after I have at least mastered The Lord’s Prayer. And because of that first lesson she has taught me, I know I will manage to stand up strong through life’s trials and at least live a life similar to her.


Maria Lourdes Ann S. Cruz
November 11, 2001
Makati City

See you next Wednesday!

CaRPe dIeM!!!

Wednesday, October 30, 2002


I am a proud and happy loser! Yes, with my head up high, I can say that to anyone and even announce it to the whole world - I am a proud and happy loser of 20 lbs of excess weight!

Exactly five months ago, I decided to lead a healthier lifestyle less the excess weight and health-related problems like chest pains, chronic fatigue and back pains. I enrolled myself in a gym, decided to watch what I eat and rid myself of stress-related activities. Now, five months after, I have never been better!

My decision to be healthier was part of my desire to love myself more. I owe it to myself more than to anyone else to give myself the tender loving care it needs and deserves. How can I take care of other people if I can’t even take care of myself? How can I enjoy life if I cannot even have the energy to do the activities I have always wanted to do?

The key to being a successful loser I believe is having the right intention and motivation to start with. Losing weight for someone like your boyfriend (which will soon follow once you start showing off those new curves!) or a potential boyfriend might not be a good idea. Lose weight for yourself because it will be good for you. In that way, whether the person who motivated you is gone, you’ll still be determined to continue your battle with the bulge.

Secondly, discipline and determination should always follow. Whether the deprivation of cheesecake has been causing you to lose sleep, know that in the end we have sacrifices to make. But this doesn’t mean you should totally deprive yourself of those deliciously sinful foods. Once in a while, treat yourself to a sumptuous dessert you’ve always wanted. Totally depriving yourself will not be good for you. Enjoy once in while! You deserve it!

Moderation is the key to everything. Anything excessive is bad and we all know that whether excessive dieting, excessive exercise or excessive eating. Take everything in stride. God didn’t make the world in a day. It took him 6 days and rested on the 7th day. So take your time and take a rest as well. Your body will thank you for it!

While on the losing streak, as a last reminder, think of happy thoughts! Visualize the day when you can take the hike you’ve always wanted or wear that little black dress. Have a clear vision of what you want and set a realistic deadline for yourself. Believe that you will achieve your goal and set your action plan. Work on your plan everyday and before you know it, you’ve lost the lbs you’ve always wanted to lose.

See you next Wednesday!

CaRPe dIeM!!!

Sunday, October 27, 2002

W3O Updates

Some updates on what is happening with our female friends in the industry.

1. Mary Anne Tolentino, president of the Philippine Internet Commerce Society is very much busy with their forthcoming 1st Philippine E-Commerce Congress. It will take place on November 20 to 22 at the Hotel Intercontinental.
2. Rita Barreiro is currently busy with her major project at the International School Alumni.
3. Jhermie Cheng, Infotech contributor, now works for Ecommsite Solutions.
4. Sacha Chua just top the JITSE exam and currently one of the industry's brightest kid. She will be leading the Ateneo group in the forthcoming ACM International Collegiate Programming Competition Asia Regional site this November 12 to 14.

How about you? What's keeping you busy lately?

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Allow me to share another one of my journal-based short stories. The story below is a peek into the private journals of a Mister and Mistress. Although it is but a glimpse, it reflects their secret hopes and hidden pains as well as the moral dilemma that constantly haunts their “relationship.”

The Flowers: A Mister and Mistress Story

February 13, 2001, 10:15 AM

The plane was about to take off. Part of me wanted to stay in that paradise called Boracay but I knew I had to go back. Today is my boyfriend’s birthday. Silly as it may sound, I have to be home for his birthday and that was, call it corny or sentimental, his birthday wish. **** and I are amazingly doing very well considering his hesitation to let me take that trip. I don’t know why but I particularly miss him so much the whole time I was on the trip, considering our relationship started with oceans apart. I knew **** would not send me flowers for Valentine's day. But HE is picking me up at the airport. I feel quite guilty meeting HIM. I am counting against hope that HE'd give me flowers. That could be the sign that I needed all this time. If indeed HE'll give me flowers, then I know what to do next.

When I got to the airport and saw HIM, he was empty-handed and my heart sank. I hope HE didn’t notice. All throughout our time together, I was hoping HE'd suddenly pull out a bunch of flowers out of nowhere to surprise me. But hours passed while we were together and no flowers. I cried my heart out after HE brought me home. As far as I can remember, I have always loved flowers. Whenever I’m sad or down, I’d buy myself a dozen roses to cheer me up - flowers that came as signs that I ask from God answered most of my major life decisions. I remember in high school asking God for a sign whether I would enter the convent or not. A white rose means God wants me to and a red means no. Surprisingly, for no occasion, I got flowers, a red one. And my friend who of all people I least expect to give me told me he really wanted white roses but he looked around three flower shops already and no white rose was in sight. So there I was, while he was explaining the whole story, crying over my red rose. And today is just that. I got no flowers today and I knew in my heart what God wanted me to do . . .

Signed: Mistress

February 13, 2001, 10:30 AM

I was in the meeting but my mind was not. I was talking about the issues at hand with my colleagues but my mind was wondering. I can hardly keep my composure. But I'm sure my colleagues did not notice. I was deciding silently whether to get the flowers or not, for tomorrow is V-day. BUT, she sounded so bubbly on the phone these past few days about her plans with her beau, that deciding on a simple thing turned difficult. I know she likes flowers but what if it'll be the only flowers she gets on that special day and she falls for me as hard as I fell for her. I mean, me, I can take the sacrifice. I'm a guy and I'm supposed to be strong. But she, even if she does pretend to be strong, I know that deep inside she's a romantic and very fragile. I mean, I might love her so much, but as it stands now, I can't offer her a peaceful family life, which she and her family longs for. And she has her beau, who in the days to come, she'll finally meet, and hopefully if things turn out right could very well be her future hubby. What if the simple act of giving the flower, which I know means so much to her, confuses her. I guess, for now, I don't want that to happen. It's enough that I, alone, am confused about what to do with my life. What I want is to give her all the time and the chances to think straight about what she really wants in her life. Because I want her to be happy. Because I love her so much. That's why even if I know it means so much to her, even if I desperately want to give the flowers to her, I decided and I held back, and the flowers won't arrive on V-day. I looked at my clock, it’s 11 am. I have to go and meet her at the airport. . .but this doesn't mean that the flowers won’t ever come.

Signed: Mister

See you next Wednesday!

CaRPe dIeM!!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

My Monday Tummy Workout

Last Monday night, in lieu of my usual gym workout, I had my tummy worked out instead. And what a way to start my week just when I promised myself to really start monitoring my diet! But for friendship’s sake (cheers Alex!) and for love of good food, I gave my taste buds a well-deserved break from tuna wheat bread sandwiches and prunes and apples.

Alex, my friend and former law school classmate who is in town for a break from his foreign posting in China and yours truly started our journey to good food with a tasty dinner at Café Mediterranean. Being his first time there, I recommended beef kebabs with buttered rice while I had lamb kebabs to savor and enjoy. Both the beef and lamb kebabs were juicy and tasty, unlike some kebabs that are either dry or gummy. Their garlic sauce was one of the best I had and the primary reason I keep coming back. As always, I would smother my kebabs with garlic sauce with a mouthful of their buttered rice (the Moroccan rice pilaf is also must try!) Beware though if you’re with a date you’re trying to impress. Go easy on the garlic sauce lest you want to make your date literally stay away from you! In my case, Alex is a good friend, through good and garlic breath times! You should also try their Grilled Chicken Mediterranean Style which is also an excellent dish for a first time visitor. Their gyros are also very good, very reminiscent of those shawarma fad days when I was still in college. I had to take a bite of their heavenly thinly sliced chocolate dessert with nuts on it, whose name slipped off my mind. It is semi-sweet so it is highly recommended for people who are dark or semi-sweet chocoholics like me!

For the next stop of our palatable journey, we went to Via Mare’s Oyster Bar in Greenbelt 3. I love oysters so much that when I went to Bacolod and Iloilo, I was eating oysters five times a day! But when in Manila and I am craving for baked oysters, Via Mare is definitely the place to indulge. We ordered Five Kinds of Oysters and a bottle of their house wine, Santa Helena, a Chilean white wine which superbly blended with the oysters. Yummy, I can still remember the taste and feel of the oysters melting in my mouth. Oysters Rockefeller is definitely my favorite! The spirit has probably taken some effect that Alex and I were giggly and bubbly mid-way during dinner part 2, which is a welcome mood to start off a busy week ahead.

Café Breton was the next stop for dessert. We first had Funstastyc Crepe, a crepe with banana, nutella spread, vanilla ice cream and flaming rum. Deliciously sinful but definitely worth it that Alex wanted another crepe! We ordered Peche Mode next, which is filled with peaches and chocolate syrup, cream, vanilla ice cream and Grand Marnier. It was so good I was tempted to order a third round of crepes. But the better and healthier part of me stopped me from committing another sin. Though it was originally planned to go to Dome for some Peppermint Tea to cap off the evening, both our tummies were full and our tipsy heads told us it is time to head for home and get enough rest for the next working day.

But the best part of this food journey was entirely not the food and ambiance alone. It was the conversation and the thought that you are nurturing not just your body but your soul as well because you are with a friend, a good friend at that! The conversation about our respective careers, our personal plans, our non-existent love life and our secret aspirations has made this food journey satisfying for both the body and soul - a very wonderful experience indeed!

In as much as I would want to go food tripping again, I gotta head for the gym! I have been trying to burn those calories from Monday’s dinner since yesterday and I know I am just halfway through.

See you next Wednesday!

CaRPe dIeM!!!

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Me and My Lemons

Work is almost over for me today and here I am in the confines of my cubicle, sipping hot tea with my freshly squeezed lemon, leaving the citrus scent lingering in my work area. Frank Sinatra and Celine Dion are both doing a splendid job of singing the duet version of “All the Way” in the background. Yes, this is the way to end a day at work - relaxed and smiling despite some occasional stress along the way.

I love lemons and most citrus fruits. I love the tangy flavor - that sour tingling sensation (yung kikiligin ka sa asim!) in every bite and the scent that is left on my hands. My friend once commented that I am a masochist for eating fresh lemons, and he meant that literally and figuratively.

Maybe my friend was right but there are times when we get lemons and not oranges in life, right? I just make the most of what I have. Besides, lemons are a good source of Vitamin C. If I have lemons, I make lemonade! Call me an eternal optimist but life is tough and I need to be tougher! I look at these lemons in my life as challenges and opportunities for me to grow and develop whether as a professional working hard to reach the corporate ladder of success or as an individual trying to live life to the fullest. Sometimes, the lemonade part of the lemon doesn’t seem obvious to us, but sooner or later, it slowly unfolds itself and the sour lemon has been a refreshing and sweet lemonade. I believe the key to turning these lemons into lemonades is to have a change of perspective on problems and trials that come our way and turn them into opportunities to grow and learn. I know it is easier said than done but hey, let’s not put our lemons to waste! You need your Vitamin C so take them and you’ll definitely benefit from it.

So I am making this week’s Wednesday blog short and sweet. Raise your lemonade glasses W3O gals! Cheers to us!

See you next Wednesday!

CaRPe dIeM!!!

Saturday, October 05, 2002

Letting Go of Philippine Internet Commerce Society

When I founded the Philippine Internet Commerce Society in 1997, was at a stage of my life where I have to find inspiration and channel my energy to an organization - be in charge of its destiny. It was created partly because of my frustration in IT organizations existent those days where thousands of pesos are being charged in order for one to become a member and it usually becomes a 'sosyalan' meeting only.

Year after year, I stayed on, take the challenge in running the organization. Aside from that, it was also a decision made by elected board members to ensure that the E-Commerce Law and its implementation guidelines gets done first, finish what I started.

This year, I made a decision of letting go of the organization. It was not easy but there was too much politics around me to the point that every single move I make gets noticed, positively and negatively. There are also those who are politically in conflict with me that affected PICS as it became too identified with me.

But I do believe that the right moment and time will come. Current PICS President Mary Anne Tolentino and a community member of W3O was the answer I was looking for. She has extra-ordinary leadership, conviction, and decisiveness. In many ways, we are totally opposite but despite such, we clicked. She was there during my 2001 to 2002 peak of challenges (at that time, not having the organization take a stand for asking President Joseph Estrada to step down and remain apolitical) that made me realized that she's the right one for PICS.

However, kicking old habits was not easy. I thought is was easy letting go. But in order for an organization to grow and expand its horizon, new leaders must be taken in. They will take the organization to greater heights. I learned to step back and give all the room that is needed in order for one to accomplish their tasks, the way they like it. Similar to what I had then in my time.

Creating was a great relief for me. It helped me to gradually let go of PICS as early as 1999 and was able to completely finish the full transition a month ago. I'm proud to have founded the organization and know that it is in safe hands now with Mary Ann Tolentino taking the lead for it. I hope that more and more people like her who benefited from what PICS worked hard for, the Y2K Law and the E-Commerce Law, to continuously ensure that the organization will evolve and be of relevance to its community.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Time for a Change

Last week has been a day of welcome changes for me, both at work and in my personal life. As I write this, I am in a new workplace (though I used to come here during weekly ManCom meetings only) and with regards to my personal life . . .well, I have a new hairstyle (chill out Amor Powers, here I come!).

Yes girls, aside from my current functions, I am assigned (temporarily or permanently I don’t exactly know) doing quality management for our telecoms company. Though I had some background on ISO, I know this new assignment will be an entirely different challenge for me. At first I must admit that I was a bit hesitant to accept the additional job primarily because I wasn’t sure that I was more than competent to successfully carry out the responsibilities required for the post. Secondly, I have been quite satisfied with the way things are going for me that a sudden shift in my career might cause me to mess up my already smooth sailing worklife.

Call it the awakening of the sleeping dragon lady, but I found myself accepting the challenge with the hope that indeed I can help make a difference in my new assignment. After all, big returns entail big risks and what is my motto CARPE DIEM for, right?

So here I am, learning the ropes of the job day by day. Being the quality management leader and supposedly the least liked person in an organization due to the policing and auditing functions (aside from some bosses of course) is an entirely new ball game for me. But in the few days that I have spent doing the job, I have learned one important lesson in management: If you assume your people are stupid, they will act stupid. Assume they are smart, and they’ll try to prove you right!

Other managers might think I am being too humanitarian or too soft, primarily because I am a woman, for having such a mindset. But I would like to believe that such is the strength of a woman, both in the work place and at home and in human relationships in general. Women have the ability to see the human side of things and as such can bring out the best (and worst!) in people.

As I assume this new post, I would like to believe the people in my organization are competent and responsible. This will develop trust among us, which is necessary in auditing deviations in the work processes and in addressing areas for improvement. Besides, if we won’t believe otherwise why the hell did we hire them in the first place?!

So far I have tried to make that clear to our people and I am happy they are welcoming a long overdue change in paradigm. I am happy as well to see people welcoming me in their respective departments and willing to openly discuss issues and problems that need to be resolved. For me, it is already an accomplishment for them to see quality management in a better light and as way for them to improve as a dynamic part of the organization.

So wish me luck girls and see you next Wednesday!

CaRPe dIeM!!!

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

(Web)Working@Home: How to Make a Sale *Without* Selling

Three weeks after I announced a free and customizable e-mail workshop I created last January, I received a rather bewildered and distressed e-mail from someone who signed up for it. In her e-mail, she wanted to know in what way was the free e-mail workshop relevant to her business. She wanted to know what good creating an e-mail workshop would do for her and her business. And I could tell from her e-mail she was genuinely lost and confused, and needed an immediate response.

I read her e-mail several times, and then I got ready to tackle her questions one by one. My answers were lengthy, and I also visited her site so I could give her more realistic examples of how she can use e-mail workshops in attracting leads or customers for her business.

In my response to her, I didn't try to give her a sales talk. I didn't focus on the benefits she would gain if she bought a copy of the e-book I'd written on the subject. Instead, I focused on her questions and answering them as clearly as I could. The only place I mentioned my e-book was in my signature line, just below my name. That, and the URL.

A couple of days later, I received another e-mail from her. She thanked me for answering her questions thoroughly and clearly. She was surprised I visited and explored the site so I can give her examples and ideas for possible e-mail workshops she can use. And that same day, she bought my e-book -- and I didn't even try selling it to her!

Two important lessons can be derived from this, and we can all apply these lessons every day when we go about building and promoting our business on the Internet:

1. Treat every legitimate e-mail inquiry promptly, respectfully and professionally, even if the e-mail can be annoying, antagonistic or silly. Take the e-mails as a challenge to prove that you know what you are talking about; that you indeed do and live what you teach.

2. Sometimes, it's better not to think of someone who comes to us as a "prospective customer" or someone we can convince to buy from us. Building, growing and maintaining a business is not just all about making money or producing large profits. It's also about gaining people's trust and making them believe you are sincere and honest.

If we work on building good relationships with people, eventually they will want to do business with us.

Next Week: 11 Creative Ways to Use Autoresponders in Your Business
No doubt about it, autoresponders are any online business owner's best friend. But more than the standard, "Thanks for your e-mail, I'll get back to you as soon as I can" autoresponse, autoresponders can be used creatively in a number of ways...

whoops! i'm confused again. this time it's a day late. sheesh.
.: Monday Girl: Patricia Gabriel :.

FULL NAME: Patricia C. Gabriel
DATE OF BIRTH: 14 May 1972
CURRENT LOCATION: Geneva, Switzerland
ACADEMIC BACKGROUND: B.S. Applied Mathematics with specialization in Computer Applications, De La Salle University
AGENCY / COMPANY: World Health Organization
JOB TITLE: Programmer-Analyst
JOB FUNCTION: designs, analyzes, develops and maintains mailing applications
INTERESTS / HOBBIES: rock/wall climbing, billiards, shooting boring photos

According to our 'Swiss Miss' Patricia Gabriel, working in WHO has the been the most memorable experience in her 11 years in the IT industry. "I didn't imagine myself working as a civil servant before. [It's] difficult because the culture is different from the private consulting firms I used to work with," she says. Pat was even surprised with the technology she had to bear with as she claims that the Philippine regional offices of WHO are even more high tech than the headquarters where she's in. Nevertheless, "It has been fairly good working for the WHO ... exciting because I learned to do my first web application from scratch here."

Introvert by nature, Pat claims she's also a risk-taker ("emotionally and otherwise, that's why I'm in Geneva") and, if given a macro-vacation from managing mailing applications, would rather be a pilot ("I've always wanted to fly planes."), a rock journalist ("like the kid in Almost Famous. Who wouldn't want to be in rock concerts all the time?") or a full time photographer.

She's gone from managing a project and back to programming. Why so? "I still love to tinker with code rather than manage everyone's schedule and budget and the customers. My career goal right now is to continue with technical stuff rather than go into management. Many people may view that as having no ambition at all, but this is what I love doing."

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Morning Walks

I am in a reminiscing mood a few nights ago coupled with too much tea that I couldn’t sleep so I decided to walk down memory lane and read some of my past journal entries. Yup, I do keep a journal and rereading journal entries has been quite helpful in healing past hurts and failures and I happen to chance upon a particular entry that never fails to make me misty-eyed. (This is just a lousy excuse for not being able to make an article for today’s blog! Hehehehe)

Pardon my “mushiness” today and the effect it has on today’s blog. Allow me to share “mushy” side of me. . .

It has been weeks but I still wake up at five in the morning, despite a long day at work the previous day or some gimmick until the wee hours of the morning. But unlike before, there was no phone call to wake me up and your voice on the other line that instinctively puts a smile on my face the moment I hear you speak. Now, I wake up on my own and drag myself to take that early morning walk to ease away the morning blues. No need for your constant prodding for me to start walking and get some exercise. I do that on my own now, much to my surprise.

I still remember our first morning walk together. It was a Friday morning, both of us haven't even slept a wink, decided to take a walk together. I can still feel the warmth of your hand against mine as we take steps together waiting for the sun to rise with our song playing on the diskman, unmindful of the other joggers' stares who happen to know me by face. After a few rounds of brisk walking, you decided to run and I being unhealthy at that time decided to just sit there on the pavement and watch you.

I wish you knew what thoughts were running in my head while I watch you run. For once in my life, despite my failed relationships, I could see myself finally settling down with this man running in front of me. In my head, I had a clear picture of you and me, taking walks together. . . until we grow old.

Perhaps I dreamt too much, being the usual dreamer that I am. But hey, who wouldn't be? Your words always seemed so sure, so hopeful and enthusiastic of our life together. The certain way you look at me, that stare so steady yet so calm, seemed to say that you care and always will. The warmth of your hand when you hold me told me you will always be here for me. Then again maybe I was wrong . . . but I don't want to be wrong. I will always have good memories of you despite those few times we have spent together and I want it that way. Call me foolish but aren't we all are when we are in love? So consider me more foolish than the average person in love. Despite this seemingly self-assured and confident career façade, deep inside as Julia Roberts would put it, "I am just a girl, standing in front of a guy, asking him to love her." And I guess what hurts the most is that I am crying inside. I cannot, for love of my family and friends, cry and hurt openly. I know they will be hurt more than I am. So here I am, in front of this computer, alone in the confines of my office typing away all my emotions, hoping that after this, I'd feel much better. I know I have my faults. I am not denying that, specially with the sudden bursts of this erratic female hormones. But I just cannot take away everything I said. What's done is done. And all I have left are memories of what could have beens and what ifs.

Tomorrow is yet another day. And as usual, I'd be waking up at five in the morning, hoping to wake up with the ringing of my cellular phone. Then I'd be taking that morning walk again, alone. Deep inside, I know that someday, I will not be taking this walk alone. Maybe with someone else . . .or maybe with you again. But I guess I'm just left to hope and dream that indeed someday, I will walk hand in hand with somebody. . . and take that long walk to forever.

May 21, 2001 6:50 PM

CaRPe dIeM!!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Market acceptance takes time

A recent discussion in the DigitalFilipino group sparked the question of readiness of government and large organizations to innovative social entrepreneurs of today.

I consider myself to be one. More than just earning a living, the objective of each DigitalFilipino StatsReport I come up with is to provide a picture about the industry, but making it accessible to the common Filipino by offering it at a cheap price. Recently, a friend of mine who is working in one of the biggest company in this country today said that she can't use my research for her report. It is because when meeting investors, data used are questioned from who is the source and how much did the report cost. If they find out that the cost of my report is P1,500 then the investors will immediately dismiss the information as not reliable.

All along I thought I was doing a great service to the community that I wish to serve. I could easily sell my report for US$1,000 filling it with graphs and tons of introduction and motherhood text so that it will reach up to 200 pages. But what is the use of the report if it will not empower the sector that I wish to help by making it unaffordable for them.

Being cheap or free does not equate to acceptance instantly. So I decided to just keep on doing my work and serve those who wish to benefit from it. I hope the time will come where government and big organizations will be ready to recognize entrepreneurs like me.
(Web)Working@Home: Specialize... then Diversify!

When we think about it, many of the things we do seem to 'snowball.' We come up with an idea, we work on it, we execute it. Then a second idea comes up as a direct result of the first idea. Along comes a third idea and it's very much related to the first two ideas. Even though it was never in our plans to get from the first idea to the third, they all seem to fall into place. They all... jive.

For many of us who make the Internet our virtual office, we may have many 'snowball moments.' In fact, our entire online existence may be one big snowball!

Let me give you an example of my own snowball: After I finished creating my first e-mail workshop and liked the results, I created several more that would help me earn money to support my sites. I never thought I'd be writing an e-book on the subject a couple of months later. It certainly wasn't planned.

Because of the e-book, I started another newsletter devoted to the topic of e-mail workshops so I can keep in touch with people who bought the e-book. It's also a free resource for people who want to learn more about creating and using e-mail workshops, e-courses and tutorials for their business.

And because of the e-book and its companion newsletter, another idea grew: not everyone's interested in getting their hands dirty in creating and writing their own e-mail workshops or eCourses so why not offer a custom e-mail workshop creation and writing service? It's still up my alley, and it is my expertise.

I'm experiencing diversity in my specialization: I start with my specialized field (e-mail workshops) then diversify within that field (developing and conducting e-mail workshops for my own use, writing an e-book about it, publishing an e-zine that's devoted to the topic, offering an e-mail workshop creation service).

If you look around at all the things the others are doing on the Internet right now, they're also doing the same thing: they're diversifying in their own specializations.

It's an oxymoron, really, but if you often have those snowball moments, you understand what I mean.

So... what's your snowball moment?

Next Week: How to Make a Sale *Without* Selling
Sometimes, it's better not to think of someone who comes to us as a "prospective customer" or someone we can convince to buy from us. If we work on building good relationships with people, they eventually will want to do business with us...

Monday, September 23, 2002

.:: Monday Girl: Ginia Braga ::.

FULL NAME: Virginia Gloria de la Paz Braga
D.O.B.: 23 February 1976
CURRENT LOCATION: Makati City, Philippines
ACADEMIC BACKGROUND: BS Industrial Engineering, University of the Philippines in Diliman
JOB TITLE: Business Development Associate
INTERESTS/HOBBIES: Tennis, cooking

Working for one of the country's busiest web sites demands a lot of hard work from Ginia. Conceptualizing and marketing online and wireless promotions for different partners take more than guts, especially if you're facing the obstacle of competing with the "bigger" groups who basically offer the same services.

"It's really challenging [since] PinoyExchange is one of the most visited and interactive sites," she says.

However competitive the wireless industry can be, Ginia believes that there is a place for anyone or any group who can determine and answer to what the people need. "There's really a lot of potential here. It's just a matter of time and effort -- lots of it! -- to turn that potential into something more tangible," she reveals.

In time, Ginia plans to run her own business or probably do something related to her college course. Or, settle for something more rewarding. "If I had a choice motherhood would be my only career! Several years from now I'd like to be running my own show so that I could spend more time at home with my son Hans."



Thursday, September 19, 2002

Hi everybloody! I guess I've been away too long. I hope my head isn't good for the gallows yet ;) Haven't been able to update Monday's blog because of some unavoidable circumstances (including an OS that keeps getting errors). Hopefully, I'd be able to come back next week, in style.

Can't wait for the launching of!

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Breathe . . .Just Breathe . . .

There are really days at work that can get us down. I had one of those “challenging” times at work last week (and it lasted the whole week with some remnants of the stress early this week), just when I am about to write this blog on relieving stress. Great timing, as usual!

I’d spare you all the details that created the stress that nearly cause me my sanity (with the NBI people and Human Resource working together to terminate one of our employees!). I’d rather tell you about some of those little “tricks” I did to lessen the blow of stress, which can ease out those tensions at work. One can actually sum it up in three words . . . BREATHE . . .JUST BREATHE!

The whole time this seemingly chaotic week at work was happening all I did was simply BREATHE. . .JUST BREATHE. I just took a few moments of silence and breathed slowly . . . breathing away all the tensions and stress that came my way during the week.

Breathing reminds us that what comes in, must come out. When we breathe, we take in air (most of the time polluted air!), but it gets purified and comes out in another form. In the same way, all these challenges and trials that come our way comes out eventually, and purified in the process, making us better individuals. We need air to survive in as much as we need these challenges to make us stronger and wiser!

Breathing also makes us pause for a few moments necessary to compose our thoughts and ourselves. It relaxes our tensed nerves and calms our anxious minds. Sometimes it just takes a few seconds of silence to calm ourselves, allowing us to think better and face the challenge head on. (More oxygen delivered to the brain makes us think better!) Remember your first job interview when you were quite nervous you couldn’t think straight? And what did mom say? Breathe . . .just breathe. And it worked, right? (It worked for me and still does!)

Breathing energizes us. As our body and brain need oxygen to function properly, we need to breathe to get oxygen flowing in our system. Like in yoga class, correct breathing techniques are essential while doing the different yoga poses for it to be effective!

Breathing also draws us to our inner self and the ultimate source of all things. It makes us more grounded, rooted in our core values that can either make or break us in times of crisis. I personally feel a strong connection with my source when I breathe and close my eyes, drowning out the noise around me. Somehow you just know, everything will be alright, and you feel it.

And remember, at the end of the day after all those stress and tensions at work, let go. Go home, and I mean it! Go home and leave your work at the office! Have time for yourself and your family or go out with friends. Take your mind off work and stop talking about it to your family and friends! Though at times it helps to talk about it, there are also times when you just have to stop thinking about it. Talk about other things than work, like recalling younger days that brings out your funny and lighter side.

Here are other suggestions to relax after a day’s work I chanced upon a forwarded email:

1) Use the last 15 minutes of the workday to do low-pressure tasks. Clean off your desk, return one or two calls to people you enjoy dealing with. More importantly, take the time to plan and write down tomorrow's tasks. Trying to remember them will just keep your mind preoccupied all night.

2) Make a point of noticing the scenery on your journey home. Smell the air (if you’re not in the Metro area!), notice the trees or the sky. It will help distance you from the workday, relax you and remind you of a larger perspective.

3) When you get home, don't immediately launch into a litany about how tough your day was. Ask your family to also hold off on their demands for a few minutes to a half an hour. Use this time to change clothes, take a shower or a walk, enjoy a cup of tea or a glass of wine.

4) Establish rituals. Simple things like family dinners have gotten lost in today's busy lifestyle. Try to create "touchstones" at home that make you all reconnect. This can be sitting down once a week to a meal together, spending an evening together watching a certain show on TV, etc.

Breathe and smile! As someone once said “Upon dying, no one ever said, ‘I wish I had spent more time at work!’”

So chill out W3O gals and hang in there! See you next Wednesday!

CaRPe dIeM!!!

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

(Web) Working@Home: Doing It Alone on the Internet Won't Cut It!

During the last week of January, I set my one of my promotional plans to action. I contacted a few e-zine publishers and asked if they'd be interested in doing a cooperative venture with me.

The cooperative venture? A customized version of a free e-mail workshop I created to promote my e-book. In the customized version, the e-zine publishers are the "sponsors" and the links in the workshop pointing to my e-book's sales page are their referral links. I'm selling the e-book through Clickbank so if they promoted the customized version of my e-mail workshop to their subscribers, the publishers earn when their subscribers purchase my e-book through their links.

While I was writing my introduction letter and offer, I realized no matter how hard I promote anything on the Internet, I won't get the kind of results I want unless I ask other people's help.

I'm a shy person by nature. I'm an introvert and I never go to parties or any social gatherings. Other than speaking at (very selected) events and conducting face to face workshops every other month or so, you won't catch me out of my home office. Although I do consultancy work for an international organization, I work right from home and only go out when absolutely necessary. And when I do go out, the neighbors end up asking my mother about her house guest. My mother would reply, "She isn't a guest. She's my eldest daughter."

The Internet isn't designed for a one-person team. Instead, the Internet thrives on the principles of cooperation and information sharing. Partnerships, joint ventures and mutual cooperation are the ideal models for the online environment.

And in order to develop successful partnership undertakings on the Internet, someone needs to take that first step. Thus, I know that online, my shyness won't get me far. It won't bring me my desired results. I won't achieve them unless I get rid of some of my shyness and muster enough courage to approach people and ask for their help. And it begins with a simple and direct e-mail introduction.

And really, that's all there is to it. I approach people, ask them politely and see if they're receptive and willing to work with me side by side. If they give me a no answer -- well, it's a good thing they didn't have to give it straight to my face!

But seriously, approaching someone on the Internet with sincerity and honesty is the only way to be successful online. No, it isn't the best way. It's the only way. Show anything short of that, and true success is going to be elusive. :o)

Next Week: Specialize... then Diversify!

When we think about it, many of the things we do seem to 'snowball.' We come up with an idea, we work on it, we execute it. Then a second idea comes up as a direct result of the first idea. Along comes a third idea and it's very much related to the first two ideas. Even though it was never in our plans to get from the first idea to the third, they all seem to fall into place. They all... jive.

Women in the New Economy

Recently, I got featured in article titled Women as IT Experts. There are a lot of great women in this field. However, I feel that their roles are often undermined and even discrimated. I've been through that. I'm not innocent to the reality that gender discrimination exists to date even in this field of information technology. A lot of men get threatened with aggressive women for it poses quite a challenge even though intimidation is not intended. However, there are men who know how to take advantage of such women too.

My advise to peers is to be strong, tough, and wise. You'll be knee-jerk at times, as everyone seems to go through such a phase. But once you get over it, learn how to use every good or bad situation to your advantage. If people discrimate or humiliate you, accept it graciously and with all humility. Any victory won through argument is short-lived. It is best to win a fight through your action that accomplishes your point of argument.

I've been put down by a lot of people so many times and even by people whom I thought were my friends. However, those experiences made me even more determined in accomplishing what I have to do. Learn from your mistakes and keep on growing. Stick with people who are achievers in their own way. Stay away from those who have a lot of negative emotions and insecurity in them for they can easily suck up your energy too. As they say, the kind of people you have around you as friends or enemies tell so much on the kind of person you are.

Be on your toes all the time if you wanna survive and thrive in the New Economy. Be wise.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

My Gerry Maguire Experience

"I will never ever get into government service!" Those were my exact words before my college graduation. Call me an ingrata persona having been fed by my mother's hard-earned labor in government service as a Clerk of Court even before I was born. I just totally disliked the idea. I saw how my mom would spend Saturdays and Sundays doing overtawad work and again and again, I would tell myself, this is not the life I want.

I wanted a glamorous lifestyle and make a big name for myself in the corporate world. Besides, all my batchmates were going to work for the big corporations and I'd hate to be the odd one. I'd be an Ayala or a Sy in time, they'll see.

And so, as the story goes, I did end up working for a big corporation as a brand manager after college. Slowly, I was realizing the fulfillment of my dreams. Yes! I made it alright!

But then. . . something hit me! I was sitting on my swivel chair in the confines of my cubicle one Tuesday night and TADA! All of a sudden, I started questioning the essence of my job, its fulfillment, its meaning. And the ultimate question: Am I truly happy with this job? And as if on cue, like Tom Cruise (who by the way is not my uncle though we kinda share the same surname and some of the killer looks) in Gerry Maguire, I was out of that promising career in no time despite the uncertainty of an economy scarce with good jobs.

Men and women for others . . . For the greater glory of God . . . Lux in domino . . .

These words echoed in my mind and I just found myself writing an application letter to the Department of Trade and Industry. (The Jesuits really were successful in brainwashing me alright during my college days!)

And . . .DYARRRAAANNN! I'm here amongst the civil servants of the new millennium at the Department of Trade and Industry, hoping to make something out of my life.

First day at work: Wow! This must be an easy job! Nothing much to do! The desks are empty! I will definitely enjoy this new job! He he he!

Mid-day of first day at work the realization sinks in: Opss! No things on the table because they practice 5 S! Not even a photo frame or pen holder on my desk (or at my officemate’s desk for a while!). At least my desk should be brand new. It's not yet here!

Second day: Good morning! So, do I have my desk now?

Third day: Is my desk here yet?

Fourth day: Where’s my desk?

Fifth day: So this is DTI. . . Can I have my desk now?

And so it goes. . .

For the sake of patriotism (?) and fulfillment (?), almost two years have passed since I made a brave decision to belong to the breed of selfless (?) and dedicated (?) people of the DTI. Though it might be too early to say before I bump my head and wake up from this hallucination, I am keeping my fingers crossed that indeed, I have found my place here. As the last line of Gerry Maguire says, "If the heart is empty, the brains won't matter."

Working for government has its merits. You get to travel, rub elbows with top level officials, wine and dine for free during classy meetings, attend various trainings, get VIP treatment with matching sampaguita garlands when you represent the office, etc. And of course, you get to learn and practice important virtues like patience (like waiting for your first paycheck which seemed like forever), perseverance (like trying your best to make ends meet in project implementation and getting reimbursed after), self-control (like avoiding saying those four letter words to people who never seem to understand your instructions). At the same time, I have learned to appreciate and respect other government people who have sacrificed so much (even their lovelife!!!) for the sake of public service. Contrary to what most people think, there are so many honest and competent government people I have worked with that I will always admire and look up to.

Yes, it is with the government that I started to enjoy the simplicity of life and the joy of working with the masses (though I do not suggest quitting your job now and start working for the government! I am not liable for any unpleasant result should you try working for the government!). But then again, I am writing this as a memoir to my days as a public servant. Back in the arms of the private sector more than a year ago, I have found myself, after that short yet memorable days with government, wiser, simpler and more patient. It was like a retreat from the corporate world that gave me the “break” necessary to find myself again. No need to be in the “in” crowd dining and hoping from one classy night spot to another because these were replaced with simple sharing of packed lunch at work filled with chikahan and bonding sessions. No longer do I need to be wearing the branded clothes for these government people taught me the value of being happy and contended with what we have because the best corporate suit anyone could and should wear in front of clients and associates is service with a smile and joy in one’s heart while working. It is loving what we do that makes work lighter and more enjoyable, which we should since most of our time is spent at work.

As I baded my “temporary” farewell from the government service (for a better financial stability), I will hold my head up high with pride to have belonged to the ranks of public servants and my salute goes to those I leave behind. And it is now that the realization that “happiness is a decision you make every minute” proves to be true. Whether I work in the public or private sector, my happiness depends entirely on me. I can choose to be happy or miserable even in the worst or best working environment.

I know there is this part of me that will forever stay with government and I will always bring those experiences with me even in the private sector. Hopefully, when I am older and richer (I hope my boss reads this!), I’d get the chance to once again work for the government. It was an experience worth more than my MBA degree (talk about opportunity costs!). It was an experience that has made a mark in my work attitude and my life’s values.

“WoRk To mAKe tHInGs better.
wORk bECausE yOuR iDEas nEeD a PLaCe tO Go.
WOrK bECausE iT’s pARt oF bEiNG gOOd to YoURsELF.
WoRK foR aLL YouR oWN rEaSOns.
LIVE wHILe yOU work.”

From an Anne Klein ad

Watch out for some stress relieving tips next week . . .until then – chill out W3O gals!

CaRPe dIeM!!!

Monday, September 09, 2002

(Web) Working@Home : Coffee, Tea, or Hot Domains & Products?

I'm a domain junkie. I like to buy domain names for the sake of owning them. A year ago, I'd buy an average of 2 domains every week. It was hard to stop when I became addicted to online shopping -- particularly to domain shopping sprees. But somewhere between buying my 31st domain and receiving my latest credit card bill in November 2001, I knew I had to take control of my 'addiction'. When I finally made my brain cells function properly again, I began milking my domains for what they're worth.

And oh, how I milked them! Two domains are now bringing in a combined $900-$1,200 a month, and no, it isn't because I joined any online MLMs. Another domain makes $300-$500 a month, while my latest online business is averaging $450 a month. (And that's on top of what I earn for my ghostwriting and copy-editing services.)

But before you start tallying up my earnings every month, let me tell you I reached this point of financial independence by sheer hard work and pure perseverance. I'm 26 and my own boss -- the CEO of my own Web Empire.

If you think you can make tons of money easily and quickly on the Internet, you're in for the biggest disappointment of your life. You can't get rich on the Internet if you don't know how to work it to your advantage. It took me a year to be at the point I am now, and I'm not even halfway to reaching my goals. I'm not filthy rich yet, but I do know I'm well-off working for myself than working for someone, and no way will I consider applying for another 9 to 5 job again at this point.

When life hands you lemons, turn 'em into lemonade, sell it so you can make money from them lemons. I didn't have lemons back when I started, but I did have domain names -- lots of them. I had a lot of ideas. I had plenty of time on my hands. When I dream, I end up dreaming in HTML. Writing is my profession, and nothing could be more conducive to a writer than the Web.

Information is valuable online, and if you know how to use it, you can profit from selling information on the Web. One of the Web's most popular and profitable formats for information is an e-book (or electronic book).

When I wrote my first e-book in February 2000, I thought putting it up for sale on one of the most popular online bookstores on the Web, US-based, would bring in the dough. I was wrong. I had been dumb enough to believe if I put my product on the Web, people would instantly whip out their credit cards faster than my modem could get me online. In the 1.5 years I was selling my first e-book, I made 71 measly sales -- at $14.95 a copy, which I later reduced to $8.95 in hopes of generating more sales.

That's when I learned the 'M' word -- MARKET. As a writer, I thought all I had to do was write. I was no marketer, and I was a dud when it came to business. But if I wanted to succeed online, I had to learn how to market myself and my products. So that's what I did. I read and learned all I could about online marketing. I wrote e-mails to successful online marketers and asked them bluntly, "Are you really making more than $10,000 a month?" or "Can you give me statistics for this marketing strategy you're using?" or "What's the conversion rate of your sales letter?" Many ignored me, but those that did write me back, I learned a lot from. Some of them eventually became my JV partners and/or endorsed my products. (And those that ignored me, I continued to sling my blunt e-mails to until they either gave me an answer or told me to stop my relentless questioning.)

So a year and half after I released my first e-book to the world, I came out with my 12th (yes, it took me 11 e-books before I wrote the most successful one), and it had a domain to go with it -- Released only last December 2001, my e-book on creating e-mail workshops and e-mail courses has brought in over $5,000 in pure profit. In a few days, I'll be releasing a companion product aimed at getting even more people to buy my e-book, and I have high hopes of seeing those sales notifications many, many times in the next few weeks.

It never fails to give me a high -- seeing the "$57 credit card sale!" subject line from my online payment merchant in any given day. The nervous excitement I felt when I saw my 300th e-book order a few days ago was the same nervous excitement I felt when I received my 1st order more than 2 years ago.

So that's what I did -- I created a product, sold it from its own domain, and marketed it like crazy on the Internet. And that's just for starters! :o)

NB: Some of my income-generating sites, in case you'd like to see how I'm doing it online:,,, and

Next week: Doing It Alone on the Internet Won't Cut It!

I'm a shy person by nature. I'm an introvert and I never go to parties or any social gatherings. Other than speaking at (very selected) events and conducting face to face workshops every other month or so, you won't catch me out of my home office. Although I do consultancy work for an international organization, I work right from home and only go out when absolutely necessary. And when I do go out, the neighbors end up asking my mother about her house guest. My mother would say, "She isn't a guest. She's my eldest daughter..."

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Wednesday Girl: Maria Lourdes Ann (L.A.) Cruz

Full name: Maria Lourdes Ann Cruz
Nickname: L.A.
D.O.B.: 15 July 1976
Current Location: Makati City, Philippines
Academic Background: BS Legal Management, Ateneo de Manila University (1997)
Master In Business Management – Regis, Ateneo de Manila Graduate School of Business (2000)
Occupation: Executive Assistant to the President & CEO, Gonzalo Puyat & Sons, Inc. (Bell Telecommunication Phils., Inc., Puyat Vinyl Products Inc., Puyat Steel Corporation, South China Resources, Inc., TAB Phils. Inc., IPI Pipes, IPI International, Consulate of the Republic of Croatia) Project Consultant, PhilWAPP
Interests & Hobbies: Health & Fitness, Yoga, Cardioboxing, Aerobiking, Movies, Reading, Cooking, Tea over a good conversation with friends

Wednesday Girl: L.A. Cruz

I always thought I’d be in court right now (not as an accused but a lawyer defending the rights of an accused.) Since I was young I have always wanted to be a lawyer, influenced by my mom who’s a clerk of court and hoards of her friends who are mostly lawyers and judges. But then in high school, my “geeky” self emerged as I remember squeezing all of my brain’s “techie” juices to finish a PASCAL and BASIC program in 20 minutes against other “geeky” high school students from various schools trying to snatch away the national championship trophy in one computer programming competition. I guess my “insecurities” as a young gal (since I don’t want to be called a “geek”) gave way so in college, I pursued my childhood dream and took up a pre-law course only to find out that I will not pursue law after all (though I went to Ateneo Law School for one semester right after I defended my thesis in my graduate school.)

From being a brand manager to a government employee to a part-time college professor (in a seminary!), here I am (dyaraannnn!!!), in the corporate world still trying to bring out the best in me amidst the pressure and challenges that go with working with a very “diverse” company. I remember being engrossed so much with my work that I totally forgot my needs as a person, more so as a woman. All the days of the week seem the same to me – they all mean working days. From my full-time job I’d be rushing to my part-time job as a professor. I was always in a rush, almost running, never walking and stopping by to smell the flowers (if ever there are in the busy and polluted sidewalks of Makati!).

“I was the woman of the 21st century”, I told myself. At first the adrenalin rush kept me going and wanting more. I was like an energizer bunny always on the go. And I prided myself with that. Then slowly the excitement faded. No more adrenalin rush. I don’t seem to be happy with work anymore. I dread the mornings when I have to wake up and force myself to go to work. I hated my work, and my life in general. I was so absorbed in my work that I almost lost the real me, trying to prove to other people that I can be good in everything I do. I suddenly lost the zest and enthusiasm I once had.

But today, things have changed. . .or should I say I have changed.

Now, things are definitely better. I love what I do – the variety of dealing with various industries, the excitement of an unpredictable schedule, the challenge of being the first female in my position and the “perks” that go with working directly with the top guy. My part-time consultancy with PhilWAPP has also brought me a different kind of fulfillment – getting in touch with my “geeky” self again and working with such young and talented people in the wireless industry. Work now is more of a “play” – fun and enjoyable, rather than a dreadful toil of labor. And the best part, I have time to go out and enjoy the simple pleasures in life I have long forgotten since I started to get involved in the corporate world.

How did I manage to do a 360-degree turn, you might ask? Well, let’s save that for next week and the succeeding Wednesdays.

Wednesdays are “chill out” days for W3O women, a mid-week break from the hustle and bustle of our work - from light and heartwarming little stories in the workplace, to a new discovery that wakes up our souls, to simple suggestions to relax our stressed nerves, or just about a good book recently read or a new-found excellent restaurant around the corner.

Wednesdays will be our day to bask in our womanhood . . .See you next Wednesday!

CaRPe dIeM!!!

Friday, August 30, 2002

(Web) Working@Home

August 1, 2002, marked my first year of working exclusively on the Web. It marked the first year of being my own boss -- and growing my own little 'Web Empire'.

My bedroom is my office, and I work my own hours. I have no one to report to, and bundy clocks are off-limits in my home. After more than 3 years of commuting from my home in Laguna to my workplace in Ortigas, and then later in Makati, and back, my commute now takes 30-40 seconds -- the time it takes for my modem to get me on the cyberhighway ramp.

I literally work in my pajamas; and most of the time my feet are on a little foot pedal-cum-exerciser, pedaling away while I beat a client's deadline, or I code the foundations of another income-generating site.

But in the beginning... and all stories -- and businesses -- start at the beginning... nothing was easy. The beginning for me was full of challenges; I screwed up more times than I care to count before I finally found my (Web) rhythm.

With less than PhP30,000 in my savings, and 2 credit cards when I started over 12 months ago, I took the biggest leap of my life: deciding to work for myself rather than for someone else. The decision was both a blessing and a curse, but now, a year later, I am convinced it *is* a blessing.

If there ever is a perfect working set-up for me, a writer, it's working at home, on the Web...

Coming up on Tuesday, 03 September: Coffee, Tea, or Hot Domains & Products?

I'm a domain junkie. I like to buy domain names for the sake of owning them. A year ago, I'd buy an average of 2 domains every week. It was hard to stop when I became addicted to online shopping -- particularly to domain shopping sprees. But somewhere between buying my 31st domain and receiving my latest credit card bill in November, I knew I had to take control of my 'addiction'. When I finally made my brain cells function properly again, I began milking my domains for what they're worth. And oh, how I milked them! Two domains are now bringing in a combined $900-$1,200 a month, and no, it isn't because I joined any online MLMs...

Welcome to Shery Ma Belle Arrieta

I'd like to formally welcome Shery Ma Belle Arrieta to W3O. Let her Filipina dotcom story inspire more women to explore doing business online.

Yes, we're getting bigger. I'm hoping that once we have this blog stable with regular writers/contributors, we could already spin off to a regular website. (I wish such a day will happen soon)

Shery's entrepreneurial story brings back great memories to me. I wish I did a little bit later so that my options would have been better and much more flexible. At present, I'm at home most of the time. I only go out when I have a speaking engagement, a meeting with a client, or attend my Saturday class.

Although I must admit that it is quite risky that you don't have a regular income. However, it brings out the best in one person. You become creative on how you do things and get it done in order to survive despite little resources that you have. In this freelance business, if you're flexible and not too picky, you can survive. As you mature, you can create your own opportunities.

In my case, I recently published a monthly DigitalFilipino StatsReport. Similar to my book, it is a self-imposed challenge that I gave to myself. In most of these endeavors, the revenue doesn't come directly from these products but the value-added generated from it. Being invited to speaking circuits, commissioned to do specialized research, writing grant papers, consulting, among others come into play that provides a totally different earning opportunity and offset the cost of my publication.

If you work harder and smarter, you'll earn well. But if you get lazy and foolish with business decisions, you'll pay twice the price of such mistakes. More often than not, we learn these things the hard way as we encounter failures and mistakes along the way. Nevertheless, it makes us all stronger, wiser, and tougher.

This is the New Economy and we just can't give up!

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Introduction to W3O

Hmm.. I know this is kinda awkward for I should have done this introduction right from the start.

The W3O idea started last October 16, 2001 while I was attending the CTIA Wireless event in San Diego, California. I got the chance to listen sit in the Women in Wireless group meeting there and I thought, we should have one like this in the Philippines. However, rather than focusing on wireless, we'd like to interact with the Filipina in general.

I think the timing for this is just right. As more and more women hook up on the Internet everyday, the need to have a venue where one can interact and share their thoughts comfortably is not easy. I've been managing several discussion groups for quite sometime now and most of the active posters are the men. Women, usually, get intimidated by it. Hopefully, with the creation of the W3O list, more women will feel comfortable in expressing their thoughts and concerns online.

Coming up this blog is another story. At first, I thought of having a W3O website. But as the group is still new and uncertain as to how many content contributors will end up having, a blog like this can help us get started. Aside from me, now you're seeing community members like Connie sharing stories about women online.

I tried inviting fellow W3O list members hoping they can also share their thoughts, concerns, and issues in this blog and be a comfortable venue where we can express our ideas online. Well, I hope there'll be more of us here soon.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Monday Girl: Jeth Gool

Full name: Geraldine Gool
Nickname: Jeth
D.O.B.: 26 January 1974
Current location: Metro Manila, Philippines
Academic background: BS Information & Computer Science, St. Paul College Manila (1994)
Occupation: Senior Analyst/Programmer, IBM Solutions Delivery, Inc. (a subsidiary of IBM Phils, Inc)
Interest/Hobbies: photography, music (violin & piano), reading and writing, travel, cooking, PC gaming, performing arts (film & theatre)

There are problems that get pretty annoying for a senior analyst/programmer like Jeth: program bugs that keep on showing up, technical difficulties or limitations, stubborn customers, end-users who are resistant to change, etc. "Systems development is very iterative until you get things right... it's not your regular nine-to-five job. When schedules get critical, we work at an average of 10 hours a day and a lot of activities in my personal life can get set aside so easily."

But despite the hassles, Jeth claims she loves her job. "I love what I do and the challenges it presents. I get to meet different people, learn different business processes, and occasionally I also get to travel to other countries. I love that it allows me to be creative."

Speaking of being creative, this art buff is very much into photography and, if given the chance, would like to shoot for travel, photo,and fashion magazines. "And if I [won't] be doing [those], I'd like to be a restaurateur, or a screen writer, or perhaps a stage actress!" she reveals with a laugh.

Her love for the arts may just snatch her away from the IT world and pursue other goals, but Jeth concludes, "I am still a techie by heart." She says she plans to improve her skills on web development which involves HTML, Java and J2EE; and perhaps other IBM web resources such as WebSphere.

"Eventually I want to manage people and teams. I also intend to finish an MBA programme. If resources permit, I'd like to pursue it in France."

Personal goals? "I hope I can still manage to become a wife and mom. I believe that is still one of the greatest privileges a woman can ever be."

Friday, August 23, 2002

After reading Connie's article about Amy, it made me think about women's attitude towards work. I think when you are still starting and so engrossed with your work, you tend to be more involved, passionate, and sensitive about it. Especially if you've poured a lot of personal time away from yourself and give it to your job.

My personal advice to career woman nowadays is not to take their work too personally. Don't invest on it too much emotionally for it may become hurtful and stressful when things get very unfair. As the old saying goes, "trabaho lang, walang personalan".

I received an email from Rita Barreiro after she read our feature on Women on the Web. She didn't push through with her studies abroad as she has some issues to deal with. But hopes to proceed with her plans next year. Take care girl and hang in there. =)

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Monday Girl: Amy Torres

Full name: Amalia Torres
Nickname: Amy
D.O.B.: November 8, 1970
Academic background: BS Computer Science, De La Salle University
Current location: Sydney, Australia
Occupation: Systems Integrator, Nestle Australia Ltd.
Interests/Hobbies: Travelling, reading, watching movies and TV, tennis, and talking endlessly with friends about anything and everything.

One of the most memorable experiences Amy has ever had as a female techie was being reprimanded for being too emotional and personal, which the bosses believe is very unbecoming of a manager. But according to the 31-year-old tennis enthusiast, these attributes are among the reasons why women are great at what they do. "We have passion and we are not afraid to show it!" she asserts.

Things are not too bad at her present job so far. As a systems integrator at Nestle Australia Ltd, Amy believes she can do more. "I've had my share of pressure and intrigues up in the corporate ladder. And now I'm enjoying the relaxed view from below."

If Amy weren't involved in the IT industry, she says she'd rather be a correspondent for the Traveller's show of the Discovery Channel. On the matter of personal goals however what she wants is to get married, have kids, and travel the world with them. "If I fail to attain my personal goals I'd move up or much as it allows me to travel."

Friday, August 16, 2002

Meeting Mary Ann Go

Last night, I got the chance to finally meet up with Mary Ann Go, founder of This Filipina founded this matching site after she lost her husband 3 years ago. She told me how hard it is for single people to really enjoy life and the opportunities of finding parters compatible to one person is limited to physical attraction and "chemistry".

There's more to that according to her and matching sites allows singles to look in areas of compatibility. If there's one female entrepreneur worth sitting down, have tiramisu and coffee, Mary Ann Go would be an ideal girl-bonding date for me anytime.

Monday, August 12, 2002

--The Monday Girl--

Beginning Monday next week the w3o blogspot will feature an IT woman who gets ahead of her working week and creates more than a thumbmark in the industry. Take a look at her talent, her passion, and the complex circuitry inside her head. Discover how she hacks life 24/7 and maintains the pace of The Monday Girl.

If you know someone who can be featured in this section, please e-mail Janette or Connie.

See you all next Monday!

Sunday, August 04, 2002

Meeting Pauline Wade

If there's one lady worth meeting in Cebu City, that would be Pauline Wade of University of the Philippines Cebu City. This lady who has heavyweight software development experience at AT&T Bell Labs in the US is now working at UP Cebu. This Filipina is teaching the fine elements and practice in software engineering. Very rare would you find highly intelligent people serving in the academe, giving back their blessings to the community.

I met her in the Software Engineering class (July 29 to August 2) that I attended in Cebu City. I hope to see more interesting women like her.

Sunday, July 28, 2002

Filipina on the Web - where are they now?

I got the chance to look into this old article, Women on the Web. Hmm after the dotcom crash, I wonder where are they now? Let us see.
  1. Therese Ng is still with
  2. Rita Barreiro left my MyPhilippines and headed GCPhilippines. But due to the dotcom crash, the company retrenched. She will go (or went) to Canada to pursue her masteral studies.
  3. Ria Ferro is still with ABS-CBN Interactive. (how are they doing there?)
  4. Drew Europeo - I think she's still affiliated with them. Their closed na. Adobo Interactive changed its name to IP Ventures.
  5. Janette Toral - that is me. Well still alive and taking care of No longer head of PICS so I can do a lot of stuff now without the usual politics.
  6. Mary Anne Tolentino - still going strong with BPI Internet Banking group. She is currently the president of the Philippine Internet Commerce Society.
  7. Abigail Yap - still with Yapster
  8. Patricia Nuguid - no idea if she's still with UnionBank.
  9. Perla Daly of Bagong Pinay - no idea.
  10. Trixie Reguyal of - the site closed down already right? Don't know what happened to them na.
  11. Franchette Soriano of - she's still there.
Look forward in hearing your comments.

Friday, July 26, 2002

Hello! We're looking for ladies who can help us in updating this blog on a regular basis. Ideal topics would be issues and concerns concerning women in IT. If you're interested, please email me at You are also encouraged to join our discussion group.

Saturday, May 25, 2002

I got the chance to read Meg Hourihan blog. In her profile, she mentioned that she's alarmed about the number of women able to join and speak in major public conferences in IT. I agree to it but the reality dawns upon me that IT is really a guys world. Although women are breaking in this area, more and more of them are focused on doing back-up work rather than lead work. Well, I hope to see more female speakers in major IT conferences.

Some updates. Mary Anne Tolentino, president of the Philippine Internet Commerce Society will be celebrating her birthday next week. Happy birthday Maan!

On the other hand, Norelyn Babiera of Fiera De Manila will be having her Graphic Expo and Philippine Animation Festival on June 5 to 7. I urge you all to come, visit the exhibit, and support the event.

Let me know what you think of this blog posting. Should you be interested in becoming a co-editor of this blog, drop me a line as well. Thanks!

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

This is the Women in Web, Wireless, and Outsourcing Blog. This is where our friends in W3O can share their thoughts from time to time to enlighten our friends in the community on various women issues. Expect more blog articles to be posted here soon.