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."