Tuesday, December 30, 2008

5 reasons to decline paid blog post assignments

I became more active lately in joining paid blog post and reviews website as I assess on how to maximize each of my blogs in terms of revenue abilities without compromising its content. This is to support as well my further sharing at Blogging from Home and will discuss the various programs explored in my online workshop soon.

Here are my lessons learned so far in this area that partly zooms in when I start declining blog post assignments:
  1. Choose the right blog
    When joining blog advertising and marketing networks, one of the requirements is for your blog to be submitted, reviewed, and a rate is assigned. If my blog has traditional Google AdSense type of ads, I submit blogs that have low ad clicks revenue despite high reasonable ranking.

    Although it would be great to enjoy the best of both worlds. I have come to accept at the moment that you can't really have both without getting at least one compromised.

  2. Set a reasonable rate range
    Advertisers pay differently but I find that one should set a rate and not accept assignments below it. At least you have to make it worth your while.

  3. No to excessive links
    The last ad I declined lately request for 7 keywords to be linked. However, the advertiser stated linking to both its singular and plural form. Then that would meant 14 links in total. That is too much for me and therefore declined.

  4. Advertiser representation
    There's one blog network I joined and encountered an advertiser whose ad instruction were poorly written and refers to a site that is hosted in a free blogging service platform. I partly got worried on the advertiser's authenticity.

    There are also advertisers who tends to use keywords that may put your blog in a totally different rating or insinuating adult content. So choose your advertisers well.

  5. No to confusing linking instructions
    There was an ad I did before where the client requested for two pages to be linked. I mentioned the site name, without linking to it, and got declined. After 2 revisions, it still got declined and so I decided to cancel it.

    Earlier, I also declined another ad. The client mentioned two key phrases that has a brand name as first word. Then next sentence said that it is not necessary to mention the brand. It gave two more key phrases similar to the first two without the brand this time. Then next sentence again said that the adjective need not be used. For me, I felt that this is the kind of client who will take advantage of bloggers and may end up rejecting the ad made for supposedly not following instructions. By the time the blogger decides to cancel the task, the blog juice has already been generated.
I'll update this further as I get to experience more lessons learned. You are encouraged to share your thoughts as well.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sexy Sunglasses Online

As we get more involved with the work that we do, our eyes get exposed to a lot of stress and sun. My very first sunglasses was a Ray Ban. It had a dark brown glass color where the eyes remain visible to the person you are talking to. Looking at the site Sunglasses Online made me amaze as to how the Ray Ban brand has evolved through the years.

Another brand line that caught my attention is the very sporty Arnette sunglasses. Some of them come in full sizes that allows you to cover the eye area properly too.

I always find mens sunglasses as one the easiest to give as a gift to the men we love. You can pick different looks reflecting their personality and lifestyle.

With so many imitations spread through various store outlets, it is important to buy from reputable establishments to ensure that you are getting the real thing.

You can also purchase it online from sites like Sunglasses Online that carries a wide variety of brands including Anarchy, Angel, Arnette Sunglasses, Body Glove, D&G, Gargoyles, Ray Bans, Vogue, among others.

They also have stocks on clearance sale if you are a bargain hunter.

Sunglasses are available in a wide variety of style. This includes designer brands. Others are:
  • Polarized
    For those who love the outdoor as it cuts down the glare usually associated with regular sunglasses.

  • Aviator
    Popularized by Ray Ban in the 1930s. This style is popular to wide range of people from pilots in the military, NASA astronauts, police officers, movie stars, among others. The sunglass usually has a wire temple that hooks behind the ear.

  • Performance
    Designed for the most extreme lifestyle.

  • Oversize
    It is must have especially for women as they fully cover the eye area. This provides the necessary eye protection for the wearer.

  • Wrap around
    A top choice for those who have an active lifestyle, including extreme or professional athletes, and can work while you go jogging or rock climbing. It blocks out the sun at all angles therefore the problem with sun hitting the side of your eyes is not an issue with this one.
They also segmented the sunglasses for men, women, and unisex for easier selection.

If you would like to send a gift to a friend in the U.S., Sunglasses Online also offers free shipping via UPS. I think that is one great deal worth availing of.

Daring a Snail

Usually, after a heavy rain, I will find garden snails popping in our garden crossing here and there. As I'm so engrossed with our Busby SEO Test entry, I thought of daring the snails to pose for my camera and show their long tail keyword glory. (Ok I know that snails couldn't care less about SEO but just bear with me. LOL!)

Of course, I'm glad that the snails did not disappoint. As for our Busby SEO Test entry, slowly, we are picking up the pace.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Free Wifi at Italiannis Trinoma

Italiannis is one of my favorite restaurants and that is where I usually invite close friends to have lunch or dinner as I also felt at home with. My favorite is its Greenbelt branch (although I don't like the dinner service there).

Last month, I got the chance to visit its Trinoma branch for a meeting with a prospective client. I took my chances and inquired if they have wireless Internet as there are nearby outlets that have one. To my surprise, the waiter said yes. That is when I felt bad for not taking a photo shot of the food I got earlier. At any rate, at least we still have the desert photo above.

I think I'll be holding more meetings at Trinoma because of this free Internet available from a lot of the restaurants there. I just have to make sure it wont ruin my diet as the Busby SEO Test competition makes me want to binge at times.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Free Wifi at Dome Edsa Shangri-la Mall

Last November 8, I went to Edsa Shangri-la Mall in Mandaluyong to catch up with my sister. We went to Dome coffee shop as this is our regular meet-up place.

I'm glad that Dome now provides wifi for free to its customers. You can also plug in your laptop while doing some work.

This made the meal we had then all the more enjoyable. I ordered a Caesar Salad with Smoked Salmon while my sister got their Tuna sandwich. Great treat!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Celebrate with a Cigar

We often encounter movies with characters smoking Cigars and usually reserved in special occasions. This happens oftentimes whenever a deal or major game is won or secured.

I am not ignorant to cigars and had my share of trying them. The most unforgettable one is from an elderly retired friend, whom we all fondly referred to as "Daddy", who brings his cigar and share it. It has this chocolate after taste and comes in a much smaller size.

It also leaves a certain aroma, like brewed coffee, that stays with you that makes it a bit exotic, in terms of experience. Of course, smoking cigars is a rare experience as there's a unique circle of people who loves this kind. Well "Daddy" has already passed away but his advise on career and life were most unforgettable. His most unforgettable quote to me was, "Act like a Lady. Talk like a Man. Work like a Horse."

Back to the topic, there are many variant of Cigars to choose from. The popular ones often searched by Internet users according to WordTracker are:
  • Cuban cigars
  • Jr. cigars
  • Thompson cigars
  • Acid cigars
Other interesting variants worth checking as well are Cohiba cigars and Macanudo cigars.

You can buy cigars from your favorite store or visit websites that ships the variant you like (e.g. Famous Smoke Shop). If you are inexperienced, it is important to buy from legitimate outlets to ensure that you are buying the real deal and not some knock off copy cat of the brand.

Of course, don't forget to smoke Cigars moderately.

Criminal Background Check

In rare occasions, we encounter foreigners, sometimes even Filipinos who grew up abroad, coming to the country seeking for opportunities either for employment, business, settling down, among others.

I always believe, however, that doing a Background Check before sealing any important deal is critical. This is especially true on the following instances:
  • Marriage
    Before marrying a foreign national, it is important to find out that they have properly divorced and have no pending offense. Else, their current partners will suffer for it.

  • Business partnership
    Entering into a business requires dealing with partners with good credibility. If you try to secure a loan later on, all board members get checked and one partner's past may end catching up and harm your chances for securing important loans, deals, among others.

  • Employment
    Employers hiring foreign nationals must take the necessary diligence that they are hiring the right people especially if their work includes travel to other parts of the world.
There are sites (e.g. Sentry Link) that allows you to perform a Criminal Background Check. This is where you will find out if they have records committing felonies, misdemeanors, and other offenses.

The investment required for a Criminal Check I believe is way worth it compared to the problems you may encounter later on.

Toitoi Facebook Fluff Home Page

One thing I love about Facebook is the Fluff application that allows you to keep a pet and interact with friends through it.

In real life, I have a pet, Toitoi, a turtle. In Feng Shui, they are considered as guardians of wealth. Through Facebook Fluff, I was able to create a home page for Toitoi and virtually feed him whenever I like and enter into races, get freebies, among others.

Of course, Toitoi does his share also of promoting my book online. LOL!

So if you have a Fluff home page for your pet, I encourage you to post it here and will visit, pet, feed, and have my Toitoi give it a race match whenever time permits.

Iriga City Anti-Truancy Program, Poor Power, Bad Cell Phone Signal, & Dirty Bus Terminal

Once in awhile, I get to visit the Bicol region either for a speaking engagement or do some important errands for my partner. My visit there last August, particularly to Iriga City, was partly a disaster due to the following:
  • Power interruption.
    Yes, not much has change, they still have it regularly.

  • Poor cell phone signal
    My Smart cell phone was unreachable for a couple of hours on that day. No wonder some of the relatives were hard to reach.

  • Poorly maintained bus terminal
    It is hard to describe it but I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

However, if there's anything positive in that trip, that would be this campaign that got posted in the Internet cafe center I was in.

It is the city government's anti-truancy program that warns Internet cafe operators and establishments, be penalized, from allowing under-age drinking and computer gaming during school hours.

Buy a New Home or Build Your Own Home?

When planning to finally invest in your own new home. There are two ways to go about it. This is either you buy a new one or build your own. Here is my perception on the advantage and disadvantage of each alternative. My partner had a discussion about this when we were planning to move to the U.S. a few years back.

Build your own home:

Plus points
  1. When you are on tight budget, be able to prioritize the resources needed for your New Home Construction.
  2. Get the right people for the job and may even cost cheaper.
  3. Execute your own design preferences. Like a 3-floor house with attic.
Minus points
  1. Underestimate resources required and won't be fully finished as you originally projected.
  2. Hired contractor not able to do the job - like the smooth wall finish you desire.
  3. Design not feasible. Discover later on that what you like is not possible or will prevent you from doing other stuff.
Buying a Home

Plus points:
  1. Explore as many options as possible through various websites (an example is NewHomeGuide.com). First Time Home Buyers can go online and search for the option.
  2. Deal with professionals who already have the experience with this.
  3. Explore alternatives pre-made already by the developers.
Minus points:
  1. When what you see is not what you get. Review the contract well and protect yourself.
  2. Not all terms are discussed. Consult friends or professionals that had experience in home purchasing and get "what they wish they knew" kind of advice.
It was 1998 when we moved to our Quezon City residence. Unfortunately, I never really got the chance to take a picture of it and was never really proud to do so as it wasn't finished yet. A major paint job and it should all be done. Instead, I end up buying the land next door, acquire a day care business, and publish another book. I don't think that house of ours will ever get done.

With that experience, I guess saying that you can build a house from the ground up and spend less is an understatement. Although our relatives in the U.S. can use various websites to get the best quote. In Australia, the same can be said as the place we are living in right now was also searched and found online.

If I'll ever get the chance to buy a new home again, I'll be more practical about it and get properties where houses or condominiums have already been built and be spared with all the hassle related to construction. (Obviously, there was still no public Internet when we got our first land property)

I love Korean Food (but not on a date night)

Ever since I got the chance to visit Korea in 2003, my appreciation for Korean food has increased. When Korean restaurants start popping all over our neighborhood, due to an increasing Korean nationality population, all the more excited I get.

You see, not all Korean restaurants are the same. Some, in my opinion, bring shame to what Korean food is all about. Worst, some of them are even big names and can be found in prestigious malls.

However, for a real deal Korean food treat, I go to a restaurant near our house and that is Jeon Won (I hope I did not misspell that). It reminded me of a restaurant that I get to visit whenever in Korea. I wish I had been more diligent in taking photos then.

Some of the simple things I like in this restaurant:
  • The kimchi-infused side dishes and other surprises
    Simply extravagant, refillable, and free. So if you order grilled beef good for 2 pax which cost like 500 (I think), I'm sure you'll be full already with the nice kimchi-infused side dishes and others that they serve (there's just too many).

  • Dolsot bibimbap
    I don't think anyone will get to appreciate what Korean food is really all about until they get to try Dolsot bibimbap. Well it is actually a simple rice topping dish with veggies (sometimes with meat) served in a stone bowl that keeps it hot. The red bean paste (and add spices) adds flavor to it. If I'll ever decide to become a vegetarian someday, this dish will definitely make me say, "with pleasure". LOL!

  • The desert
    After the meal, they also serve free desert or their home made cold ginger honey tea. To be honest, I knew that Jeon Won is the Korean restaurant of choice for me because of this tea that got served at the end. I felt that it really brought me back to Korea because this is what my favorite restaurant there serves too.

  • The staff
    Yes, all Pinoys and you'll see its Korean owners taking time to greet and chat with you too despite their limited English language skills.
Well, if ever Korean food is a passion for you, Jeon Won is definitely worth the try. To get there:
  • Go to Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City and make a U-turn to Don Antonio (where Petron gas station is - across Ever Commonwealth).
  • Once you reach Coffee Bean and Tree House (BPI at the corner), turn left and you'll immediately find Jeon Won at the right side of the street.
On a last note, I don't recommend eating in a Korean Restaurant on a date night. I've heard enough funny and embarrasing stories about it that I don't encourage you to take the risk. LOL!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

5 Reasons Why I Prefer Cathay Pacific

Whenever I get to travel, Cathay Pacific is my primary choice over any other airline. Here are some of the reasons why:
  • They offer free upgrades to business class, on the spot, that I have never experienced with any other airline.

  • I like their duty-free products offered. I am biased towards practical non-messy and healthy stuff. I remember buying an ionized jewelry pair plus skin care products (picture above).

  • The noodles. I know it is funny but I always look forward in eating noodles whenever in a Cathay Pacific flight. You just request for it and they serve it to you.

  • The Marco Polo lounge. When I was still a Marco Polo vip cardholder (that was the 2 year period when I went out of the country almost 1x to 2x per month), I always look forward staying at the lounge. The noodle bar and facilities was just so perfect.

  • Online check-in. Cathay Pacific remains to be one, or if not the only, airline that offers a well-organized online check-in facility where you can pick a preferred seat ahead.
Of course, nowadays, we have to be practical. If another airline offers a cheaper rate, I will likely go for it. During travel rush, try to avoid the situation where one has to stay overnight in an airport facility.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

5 Options to Get Out of Debt

I am the kind of person who is not afraid to take risks and even use credit cards when necessary just to push through with an idea or project I have in mind. Knowing that I have this risk-taking courage, I decided not to have my own primary credit card and just resort to being a supplemental cardholder.

Different countries have their own approaches in collecting debt. In the Philippines, due dates are important. You'll get calls and warnings for missing payment whether it is for credit card, direct selling, and anything that has a due date marked on.

In Australia, I noticed that collection policies are more considerate. In direct selling entities, you have the option to pay only what you can at the moment although this hampers your ability to make successive orders. Once fully paid, you can resume doing business again.

In the U.S., there are debt consolidation companies can be tapped to help out in managing your payments and create a re-payment program that will work best for you. A good scheme ideally should have low monthly payment, low interest payment, and friendly terms in case you'll be able to fully pay it off early.


The site, Bills.com, has advice on bill consolidation and options that I find interesting. This includes options worth exploring such as:
  1. Use your assets, like home, to shift your credit card bills from unsecured to secured debt. This allows you also to re-negotiate the rates and terms.
  2. For properties, another option will be to re-finance and get better terms
  3. If you don't have your own home or equivalent equity, you can still avail of credit counseling and debt settlement options.
  4. There's nothing to stop you as well from making calls and inquire of options available to reduce the interest you are paying now.
  5. If the above does not work, debt settlement entities can be tapped for the task.
The amount of information on the site is more than helpful. I think the use of videos, images, and illustration can help the site better in sharing more information about the subject.

Hire a Filipina Maid - Transit at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia International Airport

Last November 22, I left the country to visit family members. Part of the trip is to transit at the Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia airport.

I have been traveling for more than a decade now and the airports feel like the same wherever you go. However, once you have decided to make a photography adventure out of it, suddenly, everything looks different.

I hardly bought items at the airport for they are usually expensive. Although I recall buying a Blubrry blouse once at the airport as I have a presentation two hours after landing.

There is also an incentive buying duty-free while onboard a flight as mileage credits can be earned with your frequent flyer card. I must admit a few items caught my attention during the shoot but I find it pointless to wear or carry such expensive stuff if it is worth like a laptop already and you prefer commuting most of the time.

Inbound (October 19)

What was memorable during this trip was my stay at the Premiere airport lounge where part of the package is a 20 minutes chair back massage. It was a very good one.

One unforgettable note I have at that time was while surfing the Internet in KL, if you visit anything that is Philippines-related, I saw ads popping up about "hire a Filipina maid". I wish I had taken a screen shot of it. I guess that is the reality of life as most Filipinos go abroad to pursue better lives.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Century Tuna Diet

Last October 20 to November 22, I experimented with my eating program and ate Century Tuna, my favorite is the hot & spicy variant, and hot Spanish sardines whenever I am home. While outside, eating meat became a rare thing except when it is unavoidable and indulgence is given way in few occasions.

There are many ways you can eat tuna meat like this one. The most common one would be just plain saute with garlic and onion. If I'll be cooking myself, will add tomato too. If it is meant to be shared with others, egg can be included. You can eat it with rice, bread, salad, or even pasta.

Admittedly, the weight factor didn't change that much although friends noticed some improvement. It is important to take vitamins or supplements to augment nutrients you get deprived on as a result of the diet. This has an effect on your brain processing power, mood, and vitality.

At this time, being with family abroad for the holiday season prevents me from the following the diet I started. They also don't have the hot & spicy variant so I stick to the tuna in olive oil or vegetable oil or water whenever I get the chance. At times, I just skip dinner. So we'll see...

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

5 Steps in Video Production Service

In the course of organizing events and developing e-learning programs, I have more and more came to realize the importance of having video production as a must in these endeavors.

Chicago Illinois-based Richter Studios is an entity that can be tapped by companies based in the U.S. although they can go to almost everywhere in the world to do their work. What I like about their website is the sense of excitement and being proud that they convey in the kind of work that they do. This I find lacking for those offering services.


They also took the effort of explaining the process when availing a Video Production Service that includes steps such as:
  • Conceptualize
    Using pencil and notepad paper to churn out the basic ideas of a project.

  • Script writing
    They collaborate with the client and come up with a script flow that reflects their needs.

  • Capture
    Shoot the videos and get it done.

  • Edit / Animate
    Video gets worked on and audio is improved.

  • Output
    Finished product is ported to its target output media or platform (online, high definition video, mobile devices, cd or dvd, among others)
I think the video production service field will keep on growing as the Internet and mobile devices trend on becoming video-friendly continues.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Relationship Heartache, Breaking Up, & Rebound Rituals

I'll be attempting to make a post every now and then about relationship as I often get exposed to younger peers who go through emotional turmoils once in awhile. I also visited a blog lately where the blogger was asking for advise on how to heal a broken heart.

So let me kick this off by tackling the subject of heartaches, breaking up, and getting into a rebound ritual.

I believe that heartache begins while most of us are still in the relationship or just a day after the split or termination. It is funny when the weather jives with you that day. You look outside hoping to find an area in the big sky to throw what you are feeling away. Then all of a sudden, you see dark or polluted clouds everywhere that just cracks you further.

It is also a matter on how the relationship is ending. At times, it seems you can't agree to anything and almost at each others neck especially if you work together on projects. Then until one makes a proper goodbye and both parties agreed.

In some cases, a communication block occurs because you were both tied up. After a week or two, the concern will be raised on the state of the relationship, the answer is given, then both agree to end it there.

Not all endings are clean. Some go through the point of a heart-to-heart talk. Others end abruptly with tears while parting ways. While some terminate it like a date or bid cancelled.

If you are unlucky, your feelings may be ignored altogether to the point that it gets mocked, disrespected, belittled or humored upon. But you can't judge that soon - as much as a lot has been said, there's also everything that was not said. I guess it partly shows the best and worst in us as a person.

Nursing a heartache can be a difficult stage. However, those who love themselves more can get through far more quicker. That is why such is an important prerequisite, in my opinion, before one can be ready getting into a relationship. Take time out, pull yourself together, and become a better person. If you have been put down by a lover, that is only because you allowed them to. It is also your right to decline any further discussion about your heart or feelings if the intention is not clear.

Get ready to rebound!
Alright laugh out loud, the above was so serious already. The point of this post is this girl book - Rebound Rituals by Kerry Colburn and Jennifer Worick that tackles 50 ways to bounce back after breaking up. Some of the tips I like and my thoughts about it are:
  • Fly solo
    Take a break and yes you should. Get that feeling back that all you need is well - you!

  • Make a hate letter
    Yes, because we are too polite to curse or express our anger. Of course, the hate letter is not meant to be sent but just vent that negative emotions out if you have to.

  • Consult the cards or zodiac
    Have fun and find out what the stars or cards have to say about you. There are also mental affirmations to end a heartache and reclaiming your stolen heart. This option may require you to burn some of the items he has given you.

  • Get a hobby or new adventure
    Anything you like to do. Maybe start a food blog, get some dancing lessons, start a business, read more, among others.

  • Assemble the worthy
    Make an album or photo collection of great men in your family and those you admire. There are still a lot of good men out there.
There are 45 more tips in the book that you will surely find entertaining. Check it out!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

My Arturo's Bed & Dine & Bryan's Grill & Cafe Davao Experience

As I was preparing my flight schedule for the DigitalFilipino.com Club and Bloggers Networking Davao event last October 21, Aileen suggested that I should check out Arturo's Bed & Dine located at 91 Narra St., Palm Village, Davao City. Palm Village is right beside Bo. Obrero and quite near Victoria Plaza. Tel.: (82) 221-2943. It also has free wi-fi access and a swimming pool. The place charges like P1200 for a nigh stay that is already inclusive of breakfast. I must admit that their breakfast offering is so gorgeous and the generous serving of pandesal was just heaven!

As for the food, well, I'm on a diet and picked on their pepper-clustered tuna sashimi offered at Bryan's Grill & Cafe. I spotted the review Blogie made about it and decided to give it a shot.

It is the best tasting tuna sashimi treat I ever had to date and enough reason to come back and stay at Arturo's Bed & Dine place again. By the way, Bryan's Grill & Cafe was also one of the establishments included in Davao's Food Appreciation Tour. Check out Aileen's video below and have a glimpse of the place. Thanks again Aileen!

Related travel note:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cebu Pacific Blogging Challenge Winners

I got asked a few weeks ago by Blogie Robillo to be a judge in the Cebu Pacific Blogging Challenge. The winners were finally announced and I'd like to extend my sincerest congratulations to:
  1. Rosselyn Jaye de la Cruz - Bohol
  2. Zigfred Diaz - Dumaguete
  3. Czarina Maye Mariano - Palawan
  4. Marck Ronald Rimorin - General Santos
  5. Lyle Santos - Davao
On another note, I've been contemplating of reviving the Filipina Writing Project and carry it out similar to the Busby SEO Test.

Buying Jewelry Online Series - MyJewelryBox

Through the Internet, it is possible to purchase almost everything online that includes low-end to high-end items. However, the timing and value of the item purchased are also factors to some categories such as jewelry. For the purpose of this discussion, let me use MyJewelryBox, an online jewelry marketplace, as an example.

This time of the year requires most of us to plan our purchases within budget and means. Christmas jewelry is a popular item to consider for loved ones. Folks planning to get one as a gift should start canvassing and order as early as September.

Sapphire jewelry and diamond jewelry are top of the line options where most women would appreciate getting one as a gift. As for women, gift options for men can be quite limited and perhaps it is time also to look into men's or couple's jewelry.

For those planning to get wed next year, they also have choices for weddings and engagement. If you believe gemstones and the luck they bring, getting your birthstone jewelry may be a good investment too.

What I like best about the site is the education section where you can learn more about diamonds, gemstones, metals, and caring for your jewelry. The knowledge you'll gain from it can make you a well-informed buyer.

MyJewelryBox can ship almost anywhere in the world. But buyers should be aware that they are responsible for VAT, duties or any other taxes incurred upon delivery. Buyers should factor this when making a purchase.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Joining and winning online contests

If I recall correctly, I only joined two online contest this year and have been fortunate enough to win at both. Coincidentally, they were also organized by Just Creative Design.

The first one is a free logo design contest where I joined and wished for a logo that can be used for the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs writing project.

The 2nd one is the US$11,000 Prize Giveaway - Design Group Writing Project Charity. I decided to donate and became one of the 66 winners. The prize I got is a blog make-over and will have that done for the DigitalFilipino.com Club Group blog.

I think joining online contest can be a great experience. I encourage you to pick those that really matches your need and interest.

How about you? Have you won at any online contest this year? What was the best prize you got?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Supporting A Woman's Investment

One of the bloggers I met online is Jasmin Tragas. She is a managing consultant and social media advocate at IBM Australia with a background in new media and design. At present, she is volunteer ambassador for Women's Opportunity and her 1st project is to set-up a micro-finance project for a group of women in the Philippines dubbed as "A Woman's Investment".

At the moment, Jasmin is raising resources and created this slide show from various women who shared their thoughts.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Alcohol drinking guidelines

(vodka tonic photo shot at Nuvo last November 14)

Australia is one country where alcohol drinking problem is taken seriously. This is where alcohol-related social problems is estimated to be at AU$7.6 billion. Each year approximately 3,100 people die as a result of excessive alcohol consumption and around 72,000 people are hospitalized. The government even has a National Alcohol Strategy (2006-2009) as a response to the patterns of high risk alcohol consumption.

Each one of us respond differently to alcohol. However, the Australian government suggest that men should not have more than 4-6 standard drinks a day while women are encouraged to avoid drinking more than 2-4 standard drinks a day due to having a smaller liver size compared to men.

Each standard drink usually has no more than 10 grams of alcohol. Regular drinkers are encouraged to have at least 1-2 alcohol-free days per week. Those who have uncontrollable drinking habits may consider getting help at sites that talks about Alcohol Rehab.

Whether occasional or long term, there are risks in drinking that must be managed. This includes injuries from violence, accidents, falls, having unprotected sex, and alcohol poisoning. Those who drink regularly and on a long term may also increase their chances of cancer, diabetes, and brain damage. Getting Addiction Treatment is an alternative that can also be worth exploring should you feel unable to control your urge to drink. Visit the nearest Alcohol Rehab Center in your country or overseas to get further advise.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Caramel Espressions at Gloria Jeans Treat

Whenever I have a training in Makati, I usually arrive before 7 am in the area and hangout at Starbucks Valero St. Makati.

However, since their annual planner giveaway isn't as cool as they used to be, I thought of trying out Gloria Jean's Coffee a week ago and have been hanging out there since to avail of its free Internet access.

My favorite drink so far is Caramel Espressions. A cup in the morning is enough to get me throughout the day.

I also found out lately that Gloria Jeans is actually an Australian company.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Date with girl friend - Watching Lei Bautista at Nuvo

Whenever in Manila, I always make sure to allot time catching up with a very good friend, Mel. Last Friday, we had dinner and accompanied her to Nuvo so she can visit a long time friend. That person is Lei Bautista who is also known for the song - Cool Ka Lang. As our video recording did not succeed, I picked up this song via YouTube and posted it here.

This is my first time to enter Nuvo where Mel and I ordered a drink each. As we know each other for more than a decade, I asked if we ever catched up in a spot like Nuvo before and realized that we haven't. I guess we are just women who would like to catch up over regular meals and/or coffee rather than a cocktail in one hand.

Of course, passing by Nuvo meant that we had to make 3 stops: dinner-cocktail-coffee. The last spot landed us at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. I guess when you frequent coffee shops quite often enough, capuccinos almost taste the same everywhere.

Mel's life is great enough to become one of the best "mother story" novel for all time. Her humility keeps my feet on the ground and humbles me.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wedding of Joniel Rocio & Jherlie Cheng

One of my business partner and sister, Jherlie Cheng, just got married last August 8 to Joniel Rocio. She had a civil wedding ceremony and reception at Discovery Suites in Ortigas Center, Pasig City.

She is the last member of the family who tied the knot and it happened at the most unexpected time. I guess love just happens. I wish you Jherlie and Joniel all the best and take care of each other!

NAIA 3 Manila Airport & Yellow Taxi

Preparing for the DigitalFilipino.com Club Roadshow last October 21 (Davao), 23 (Cebu), and 25 (Manila) allowed me to check out the new facilities or amenities found in Manila airports. This includes:

1. Airport Yellow Taxi

I used to take airport cabs that normally cost me 900-1000 pesos just to get home to Quezon City. Taking this yellow taxi, operated by Nissan, allowed me to save at 50%. You still get the usual driver courtesy as well and does not negotiate for add-on payments.

However, if you are in a hurry, be prepared that more passengers are lining up to this one. Wait time can be from 30 minutes to an hour especially during peak hours. I experienced this upon my return to Manila from Cebu last October 24. However, I took the time to take pictures instead using my Nokia N95.

2. NAIA Terminal 3

On my way to Davao last October 21 via Cebu Pacific allowed me to check in at the controversial NAIA Terminal 3. The place reminded me of check-in counters of most international airports in various countries I've visited.

What was weird though is the common check-in line for all routes. If Cebu Pacific continues this scheme, passengers will have to make sure to be at the cue at least 2.5 hours before their departure to avoid any major delay or hassle.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

New babies in 2009

I have four younger sisters and all have own families at this time. Getting committed very early allowed me to have the rest of my kids while my sisters enjoyed being single. Being in the rat race and managing a family with young kids has prevented me from spending time with my sister Jehan when she gave birth to her two beautiful daughters. The same also for Jhermie whose daughter Iya passed away early this year due to heart problems.

However, being able to enjoy Iya prior to her heart operation just made me realized how special are my nieces. I cried like Iya is my own daughter and still do whenever those special moments get remembered.

2009 will be a special year for me. My two youngest sisters, twins Jherlie and Jhermie, are giving birth this February and March. I am very excited for both of them and have made a commitment to devote time and be there for them. I recalled that during my birth giving times, I just get whatever is there and do not had the luxury to make a big deal out of these special moments.

But for my sisters, I have a checklist on what baby big day stuff could be needed such as:
  • baby book
  • wrist rattles (since they are too young to hold one)
  • beanie
  • sleeper
  • booties
  • receiving blanket
  • robe shirts
  • body suit
  • diaper pants
I must admit that after ten years, it surprise me to see the number of new stuff being promoted out there to make this experience as personalized as possible.

Shopping for baby gift items online can be quite difficult as there is not much website in the Philippines that focuses on this. For Australia, where Jhermie is now in Adelaide area, found one store online but based in Queensland.

Most website information available on the Internet as well refers to outlets in the U.S. For instance, checking out personalizedbabyshoes.com gives me links to custom leather baby shoes, unique personalized baby gifts, and newborn baby gift. As I'm in the Philippines now, the information shown on advertisers or sellers I can deal with is a bit limited. But as I visit Australia next week, I'm hoping that available choices will be a bit more.

Still, I'm excited! We are having two new babies in 2009!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Miss Earth 2008 Long Gown Competition Videos

(will edit and post more videos)

Yesterday, I got the chance to watch the Miss Earth beauty pageant long gown competition courtesy of PAGCOR's local marketing unit who invited us.

The ladies wore wearing interesting costumes and it was quite hard to have a favorite pick as you tend to switch easily from one to the other. In the end, Miss Venezuela won who happens to have a lot of supporters in the audience.

Azrael, Ken, Gary, Milan, and me were all in one row watching the whole show. Afterwards, most of folks in attendance approached the candidates for photo shoot opportunity.

As the judges came from different industries and are not really professional judges per se on this type of contest, it must be hard to judge when you have around 80 women parading themselves in such beautiful outfits.

The grand finale of Miss Earth is about to happen soon. Good luck to all the candidates!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Never sleep with my laptop again

Whenever on travel, I have a tendency to keep working at the last minute until I fall asleep. This means sleeping with the laptop by my side.

Last Thursday, I woke up at 4 am and noticed that I already have a skin irritation (or skin burn).

I assume that fan side of my laptop caused this and may have fallen asleep with my inner arm facing it.

I've just let it be and avoid popping that watery area. As of this writing, day 4, the redness is gone but that watery thing is still there.

I just hope it will disappear soon without leaving a scar. So laptops, no matter how useful, can't be good bed mates. LOL!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Three Reminders to Media Blogs and its Bloggers

I've been getting questions as to how bloggers should handle opportunities to write in big media blogs. Well, this is not a rule of sorts but more of personal principle.
  • Know when it is personal or not
    I don't think personal notes or rants should be posted in a Media blog. Think whether this is what the audience want to read in a media blog rather than just satisfying yourself. Otherwise, post it in your personal blog.

  • Tone down your intentions
    I've seen bloggers who blog in media sites criticizing a product, service, or events with a note hinting about their services. This hurts the whole validity of the 'post'. (If it should be posted there in the first place.)

  • Blog editors should watch out
    Otherwise, if a media blog becomes a personal ranting, raving, and platform of a blogger to insinuate a personal intent, it reduces the credibility of the site and its blog efforts.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Plurk not cool on iPhone 3G

I admit that being a user of Nokia N95 made me partly skeptical of the Apple iPhone 3G. Last week, I got the chance to try the iPhone and used it to Plurk. Some observations:
  • The default Plurk site loads instead of the mobile edition.

  • Timeline does not scroll.

  • When typing entries in the text field, the pop up keyboard makes it hard to view the Plurk screen. Resize before you start typing your reply (especially if you need them as reference).

  • Tried backspace for corrections and it ended up deleting the whole text I just typed in.
Of course, that may not necessarily be the iPhone's fault but of Plurk. I think I'm just ok with my Nokia N95 for now.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Enjoying Park, Bed, and Breakfast in Pasay City

I visited Park, Bed, and Breakfast (PBB) in Pasay City yesterday to meet a friend and work on the August 11 details of the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs eyeball.

I always enjoy visiting a place that has good amenities and high on the list will be free Internet access. The Mags Diner provides one and not to mention great food as well. Tried their 3M Lechon Kawali that comes with fried rice and pinakbet (I was supposed to order a different one but unavailable). I can't recall the last time I had such a tasty great combo meal which is worth less than P300. I was telling my host such meal was prepared with art and love for the food.

PBB is still new and not all rooms are fully operational. However, customers kept coming in throughout the day. Later, on my way home, the cab told me that they are given incentive for referring customers to the establishment.

The is the first time I visited a motorist hotel and great to see establishments re-inventing themselves to adapt to the times.

Park, Bed, and Breakfast (PBB) is located at 733 Woods Street corner EDSA Pasay City. If you are coming from north (e.g. Cubao) heading southbound (e.g. Taft/Roxas Boulevard), it is two streets after Evangelista Street and before MRT Taft Avenue station.