Food/Restaurant Review: Tenderoast

Restaurant: Tenderoast at SM Southmall (Las Pinas)
Meal: Carver Roast Meals / Tenderoast Beef Meal
Price: 159 pesos
Verdict: To follow... a bit busy right now.. please stay-tuned.. :)

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Time to Awaken The Rizal in All Of Us

Tomorrow, June 19 we celebrate -- with much gratitude and adoration, Jose Rizal's birthday. For the uninformed few (okay, very very few, if there are actually any), Jose Protacio Rizal is the Philippine's National Hero. I guess there's no need to elaborate on that.

I have the pleasure and honor of living (for almost 2 years now) in the same city where he was born -- Calamba City, Laguna. And so, being a few kilometers away from Rizal's Shrine ( Rizal's ancestral house), I feel that it is only appropriate and yes, expected that I blog about him today -- not discounting the fact that I genuinely have the urge to write about him. Before anything else, I have a confession to make. In the (almost) 2 years that I've moved here with my family, I have not ( and I am ashamed to admit this..) visited Rizal's Shrine -- not even once. And it's not for lack of anything but "effort". The seemingly patriotic and nationalistic side of me resents that. I pass by that area almost everyday and yet, all this time, the closest that I got to showcasing it is through a "photo post" about a usual journey home from Crossing, Calamba. Pathetic, I know. But it's true. And what's troubling about it is that if someone like myself haven't been there for lack of "effort", there is a great chance that many people share the same pathetic story of "lost patriotism". And for a small country like ours who depend highly on a few country-loving citizens to put some sanity in this crazy-politician-ruled country, that is a loss we cannot disregarad, however little it may seem.

Rizal's birth is not significant because he is our National Hero. In my opinion, it is his death that ultimately summarized all that he wrote about and inspired us to do -- to die for love of our country. Rizal definitely "walked the talk". So, yes, it is not his being a National Hero that prompts us to honor his birthday, rather it is his "being Filipino" and the resounding truth that if he has created an impact so great so as to inspire and stir a revolution, then that means that any Filipino CAN do the same. It is in our blood, in our culture and in our beliefs. Each and every Filipino can be a new Rizal -- inspiring people not just by words but by actions that speak louder, battling with today's oppressors and colonizers in the form of economic sabotagers, extremist groups, abusive media groups and power-hungry and self-obsessed politicians -- all painting the country's grim future while wrecking havoc in the present.

We need new Rizals and we need it now. Jose Rizal is dead but we are still alive. We may not be able to do what he has done over a hundred years ago but we can do something like it today, one form or another. Showcase the Rizal spirit in you today. Showcase the Filipino spirit!

Nine Days After

Nine days after, we have come back Eugene. And we will keep on coming back... read more

Smart Money & Globe G-Cash: The Resurgence of Mobile e-Commerce

The "OLD" Smart Money Card and The "NEW" MasterCard-enabled Smart Money Card

Smart Communication's Smart Money tv ad has seen frequent airtimes in the past weeks. I was surprised to see such active promotion for this service these days since I seriously thought Smart has abandoned development of this feature in favor of other interests. For a time, Globe G-Cash has dominated the mobile e-Commerce arena since the long slumber of Smart Money following its breakthrough service in 2000. I was one of the few who signed up for that service four years after and even got myself a Smart SIM (although I have always been a Globe subscriber, prepaid and postpaid since 1999) because I really felt that that service would give me much convenience. Unlike Globe's G-Cash, Smart Money comes with a card. At that time, it was a MasterCard Electronic- enabled card which meant that you can also use it at POS (point of sale) terminals that carried the MasterCard Electronic logo. But unlike your usual credit card, if the store/establishment only accepts MasterCard (without the "Electronic"), your Smart Money card would be useless. Although I write about the Smart Money as if I've frequently used it, the fact of the matter is that I never got to use it. I still have it to this day, tucked in one of my wallet's forgotten pockets. The reason I never got to use it probably stems from the fact that in the early stages, mobile e-commerce wasn't really known mainstream. Smart Money logos and ads were all over the malls and restos but few people even cared to sign up for it, much less use it, even though they had it (like myself).

Even now, with Globe's G-Cash gaining popularity in online businesses and transactions such as Ebay and Multiply, it's still considered an unconventional method of payment, thus unpatronized specially by people who still aren't "connected" or "online". I remember, in one of my mall visits a few months back, I asked one SM Department Store sales lady if they accepted Globe G-Cash payments, the girl, initially stunned for a moment, responded with "I'm not sure." even though a few steps away was a poster that hung saying "Globe G-Cash payments accepted here". Funny, right? Well, I didn't want to believe that these people aren't aware of available payment options in their store so I decided to go to the cashier counter and asked the cashier instead. I thought, if there's anyone here who should know whether or not G-Cash is accepted here, it must be the cashier. But lo and behold, she said the same thing as the other lady. She doesn't know and even asked us to ask people from "Information". So I told myself, this is hopeless. How can they possibly put up a sign like that and not orient their people first? That's when it hit me, we are not yet ready for mobile e-commerce. A few months after that, I signed up for a new account in Multiply. I've had a personal Multiply account since August 2006 but wanted to give online commerce a chance so the best option was Multiply. I then set-up This is where I was able to put Globe G-Cash to good use. Globe G-Cash can have a load of at most, 40,000 pesos at any time, in excess of that amount, it has to be withdrawn. Almost all Multiply-based online biz accepted Globe G-Cash payments. It was fast, convenient and well, relatively secure. Then I started paying my Globe Handyphone postpaid bill using G-Cash followed by my Meralco bills. It really was convenient and payments arrived lightning-fast. That's how I use Globe G-Cash up until now. But even if it serves my purpose at the moment, a MasterCard-enabled option card is still something it lacks -- making payment dependent solely on mobile phones.

Smart Money's new card, re-launched with a bang, however, provides that needed feature. The formerly MasterCard Electronic symbol has been changed to MasterCard -- which means that now, a Smart Money card will be the ultimate debit card of choice for the highly-urbanized and highly-mobile consumer. I have yet to test this feature, though so I can't really say much about it. You can load it in amounts from 500 to 10,000 pesos max. Although, the information that reached me is convincing enough to make me sign up for it. It poses a question however, for the select few who have been using Bancnet's ATM card debit feature. Because if you think about it, why would you bother transferring your money from your ATM/savings account to the Smart Money card in order to use it to pay for products and services when you can easily use your ATM card's debit feature instead? Two words. MasterCard compatibility. If your ATM card/bank is not MasterCard-enabled, you can't use it as a debit card. From what I know, the difference of a debit card-enabled ATM card is that you don't have to encode your ATM PIN (personal identification number) anymore when you use it in POS terminals as opposed to regular ATM cards that would still require you for a PIN after the cashier swipes your ATM card.

The resurgence of mobile e-commerce looks promising at the moment, with more and more people being aware of its benefits. The only problem right now is the deep economic slump we're into. But discounting that fact, it seems safe to assume that right now, we are ready for mobile e-commerce. After all, 8 years is a lot of time. We have more matured and more informed consumers ready to try whatever's new, "in" and trendy -- but only if it suits their needs. The challenge for telcos right now is make these features work on a more practical manner that consumers would sign-up for features and services like this without reservations and optimistic of the many perks they'll get from being both "trendy" and "techno-savy". In with the new, out with the old.

Mobile e-commerce has finally arrived. Question is, are you ready for it? Or more aptly put, "will you jump into the bandwagon?". Let's hear what you have to say. Your comments are welcome.

** Disclaimer: This is NOT A PAID BLOG. I am in no way connected with either Globe or Smart. I blog this in the interest of informing the public. For veracity of information, it is always best to contact Globe Telecom or Smart Communications. **

Kalayaan 2008: Losing the Spirit of Freedom

I can only say, with much disgust, that this frequent changing of Regular Holiday dates in favor of a long weekend is nothing but disrespect of the occasion and all that it stands for. This has been done with due diligence in almost all of the regular holidays we have that didn't fall within the "weekend requirement". Although, irritating enough, I passed it up as just in keeping with PGMA's love for the working class. But now, with the "Araw ng Kalayaan" (Philippine Independence Day - 110th Year of Celebration), I can't help but feel utter disappointment, and did I mention, disgust? that such a hallowed day be treated the same. June 12 is Independence Day. It is not Mother's Day or Grandparent's Day. It is the day we finally got the FREEDOM we have been longing for as a people -- free to think, free to govern ourselves, free to grow in our style and ways, free to express ourselves, free from whatever form of slavery, free from conquerors. Unlike all the other holidays marked "red" on our calendar, Independence Day is supposed to mean a lot to us. It is something to celebrate and be thankful for. It is something worthy of leaving work for a day, not going to school and leaving what we normally busy ourselves with. For if we think about it, and ponder on well enough, we would realize that it is this freedom that has empowered us to work, to go to school, to run a business, to write our opinions, to blog, to appear on tv and to do all other mundane things that we so loved and immersed ourselves with -- that which lead us to slowly forget what it means and costs to be truly free. Perhaps it is indeed hard to think about freedom and its significance if you were born free -- as in the song. How do you value something that you didn't have to fight for, much less shed blood and die for? How convenient it is for us, born with the luxury of freedom to simply wave a flag and reenact events of over a hundred years ago without even putting up a small fight to do so? And yes, how convenient it is for us to simply move the Independence Day holiday to any day that would fall on a weekend and in effect make the exact day, June 12th a regular day? Oh yeah, right..there's still the usual ceremony and flag-raising and all that..that's what the "Palace" said but are they discounting the fact that because of holiday date switch they made, those few people willing and excited to participate in the Independence Day celebration would now have to be ABSENT from either school or work?! Who do you expect to be there now? Public officials? who in all these are the least affected because being there still qualifies for "being at work"? Is Malacanang doing this so lesser people would go? Okay, so there's this people's day" of sorts dubbed as "Tungo sa Tunay Na Kalayaan" which is said to be a showcase of government services brought closer to the people on this glorious day of June 12 -- President's orders, so they say. But what the !@#&?! Who do they expect to be there again? Public officials again?? Tsk. So is Malacanang expecting that the average Juan who is working himself to death just so he can put food on his family's table will be "patriotic" or even, in the context of availing government services, be "hopeful" and "optimistic" enough to leave work on that day to avail of these so-called government services? If this government is truly dedicated to "true freedom", they don't need to wait for a reason as big as Independence Day to move "services" closer to the people. This should be constantly and consistently happening in the entire country. Medical, social and economic services should be "abot-kamay" (within reach) of the average Filipino anywhere in the country. You'll set-up tents for these services within the Malacanang area to serve who?? So, you expect impoverished people like my kababayans to travel all the way from Bicol just to avail of medical and dental services? Come on. Why not make government programs work on the local government level? Strengthen this division. Make your services felt where it's needed. June 12, 2008 is Independence Day, 110th year of Philippine Independence. It's about time we realize what it means to be "truly free". And please, next year, leave June 12 alone. Who cares if it falls on a weekday or a weekend? All that matters is what it stands for and that's freedom. No matter what crisis we face, let the spirit of freedom shine through. Because right now, this is all we have worth celebrating.

Thank God For "Restore"

I made one of those "O-M-G" mistakes today, actually, just a few minutes ago. You see, the adventurous and software-tinker that I am, I have decided to move our family website from to another self-hosted WordPress blog. My webhost's 1.5GB of space allocation is barely used at only 3.26MB for the website and only 1.26MB for my logs. So I thought, I'd better transfer the family website to my paid host. I initially wanted to make a photoblog but changed my mind. Everything was going well, including the changing of nameservers since the domain is registered at HostPapi, and my webhost is StartLogic so I had to manage my domain from within my webhost. Shortly after verifying that the new domain control is working, I installed WordPress under the adapted domain. I of course want to install it at the root directory. The installation prompted me to check if I was certain since the same application is already installed ( the one used by ). I didn't know what came upon me that prompted me to tick on "Confirm installation on existing directory". I ticked the darn thing without second thoughts. It must be sheer stupidity or maybe I wasn't myself that time. After doing that, I immediately felt that "oops..oh dear! shoot me!" moment. I checked my url and lo and behold! -- it's gone! gone with the wind! gone forever! I sat in front of the screen like a stone.. what the %^%&^%*???!!! How incredibly and unbelievably stupid can I get?? What was I thinking? Or was I even thinking?? Oh my dear Lord.. all those stupid podcasts, all those junk matter how insignificant it might be to other people, those to me are freakin' priceless.. I have been spending hours trying to fix that darn site's layout and now, all for nothing? "This can't possibly be happening!" I thought, there has to be a way to undo this stupid mistake. And oh, what a relief when I remembered that I incidentally signed-up for a "site restore" feature / add-on service at StartLogic. Never have I ever been so thankful for paying extra for such a feature that until this day, I thought I didn't need and shouldn't have paid for in the first place. One click of a button and presto! My site is back like nothing horrifying ever happened. Whew! That was the closest I got to total freak-out. I almost gave up blogging, all because of that incident. Seriously, if I didn't have it fixed, I was swearing not to blog anymore lest I end up nuking all posts that took me months to write in only a fraction of a second.. Today, I learned a lesson, and learned it the hard way. Never, in my wildest dreams will I ever tick on a "confirm installation on an existing directory" again unless I am 101% sure. Thank God it's over. And thank God for "restore".

Just Another TV Ad aka. Infomercial

Why in the world is Judy Ann Santos under fire on account of that Meralco TV ad explaining and making an analogy of "system loss" through ice cubes? Why do we find it so easy to point the accusing finger on somebody we have known for all eternity to be a celebrity, a TV personality, who has been making commercials, and dozens of it for a living? Now, I'm not a Juday fan nor am I a "Kapamilya" or an ABS-CBN fanatic. I just think that it's not fair to chastise the actress (who is not even here in the country at the moment to defend herself) for appearing in a TV ad for Meralco whose same owners own her mother station in the first place. I must admit though, that the first time I saw that ad, I was shocked. I guess I just wasn't ready to see a celebrity as "big-time" as Judy Ann to defend Meralco as if the print and TV ads preceding that appearance of hers is not enough to make their point that passing the system loss charge (although rather unfair to consumers) has been allowed by the law. Yeah, right. We get it. We got it the first time it was explained to us. How much explaining does it require to finally sit and tell yourself, "oh, yeah, everything's been explained, there's nothing else left unsaid."? I guess that, among other reasons is what these consumer rights groups are so mad at. Well, there's no denying that Judy Ann, with all her money wouldn't worry that much about paying her electric bills. But that's besides the point. The point is, being the icon and influential person ( at least I guess judging from her fan base) that she has become, it would have been a wiser decision not to accept an ad for such a controversial product/service. But can you really blame her? She is after all, a Kapamilya. If there was the slightest chance that she can refuse making that ad, I bet the urge of speaking up for Meralco had been stronger, if we are to believe Meralco's statement that Judy Ann was not forced to say what she said, and that she actually understood what she explained in the infomercial and even strongly believed in the idea of system loss. All I say is that, given the state of things, it would have been wiser for Judy Ann to stick to the usual round-up of commercials she so effectively delivered and generated sales for. An issue so controversial that it has become more of a political than an economic issue should have been left to those people who discuss and play it best. Something as sensitive as this, touching the very life of the poorest of our countrymen should be left to the politicians, economists and businessmen to discuss and fight over. Judy Ann, although a celebrity is just like us -- a citizen of this country caught in the cross-fire. If she is indeed just a messenger, then let the saying "don't shoot the messenger" prevail. After all, probably to her, it's just another TV ad, so let's not make such a fuss over it.

A Tribute to My Brother, Eugene

As you may have noticed, I have been out since Monday. Just got back late Thursday. My dear brother-in-law Eugene Marmol passed away Friday morning following an accelerated pneumonia that compounded his recent heart surgery at the Philippine Heart Center. He has been ill since late last year but we never could have expected such a sudden death. He was a good man, too good a man to die, and at such an early age. He was just 28 years old. He had a bright future ahead of him. But God must have a plan for him, even better than any of us can give Eugene. We would like to thank all those who sympathized with us, attended the wake and the interment and those who have supported us, specially my mom-in-law, who was most devastated by this tragedy.

The following video is a tribute made by Eugene's friends and was shown prior to laying Eugene to his final resting place at the Manila Memorial Park - Sucat. The outpour of love and sympathy has been overwhelming. Family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and classmates have stayed with us and comforted us in this time of grief. Thank you so much.

We will miss you Eugene...
See you in another life, brother!

Let Your Voice Be Heard: The Philippine Issues Writing Project

If you are Filipino blogger, there's no better time and venue to express support for the country than here and now. You, who have been given the gift of words, the freedom of expression and the power to effect change -- you can do something. If you can write exactly how you feel about the many issues and problems plaguing our country today, I urge you to join. It wouldn't take too much of your time, really. An article or two wouldn't be so hard to write specially if you feel strongly about it and you know that it is relevant. If there's ever a burning topic in your mind that you've always wanted to write about concerning politics, the philippine society, the environment, technology and other highly talked about issues, now is the time to share it to all Filpinos and to the world. And you know what, It doesn't even have to be a celebrated or publicized issue at all because sometimes, those not discussed publicly are those that actually matter. It's high time that we get these issues out in the open for everyone to see and realize. Not a political blogger? Not an issue. Anyone who wants to write, even non-bloggers can join. If you can write an email, you can join. You decide your topic, the number of words, and the style to use -- eloquence is not a requirement. Don't just be another part of history, be a significant part of it. Let your vote be counted, let your opinions be heard. After all, that's what democracy is truly about. So much has been said about our country, I know, probably even too much. But that doesn't mean, we've heard all the "good" ones. For all you know, what you want to write and will write about would make a difference, a dent in the minds of Filipinos everywhere that will bring about much-awaited and much-longed-for change.
Join us and make history! Not sold yet? Well, if making history isn't enough for you, there are other perks and prizes waiting for you as well...

Prizes will be P10,000 worth of books, cash prizes, and t-shirts among others. The list gets updated regularly so that's just for starters. Many people are generously giving their share of prizes in support of this project.

Update, May 4: Prizes

To join, visit the website or better yet, click here to get to the exact sign-up page. Remember, it only takes one person to blaze a trail but it takes a collective effort to create a significant impact. Be that person and be part of that collective! I'll be waiting for your article, kabayan.

Gardening is Therapeutic

My mother is such a sucker for plants. I remember when I was younger, so much younger than today (haha..), she would wake up very early in the morning never forgetting to water her dear plants. She would lovingly check each leaf for aphids (whitish plant insects) and remove each one carefully as if a brain surgeon reconnecting neurons and nerves..haha.. Oh, she loved her plants dearly. And how happy was she whenever she sees leaves looking all "green and shiny". Every morning, that was her joy, her piece of heaven on earth, her communion with nature. It's no wonder then that she has a "green thumb". Whatever she plants, whatever the condition, I can always bet that it will grow. Now, I'm not a hopeless romantic when it comes to plants, although somehow I knew that deep inside me, I probably am like my mom -- only that I wouldn't admit it. I just can't live in a place that doesn't have greenery, if only a few pots of it. Incidentally, we live in a townhouse, so unfortunately for me, the small patch of earth that we have here can only provide living, breathing space to a few plants. And now that we are talking plants, let me introduce you to my favorite right now. Well, it's not really a "plant" per se, but a vegetable I think (haha).. drum roll please... my "malunggay" -- otherwise known as "moringa oleifera". Today's much-talked about, much-hyped vegetable is indeed a wonder. It is known in the English-speaking countries as ben oil tree, the horseradish tree, or the drumstick tree. I'm not certain about the specifics and I leave that to you to research on, but from what I know
it has vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, iron and calcium in even greater potency as compared to the so-called main source of these vitamins.

Now, that's a lot of vitamins!

So, the other day, I did what I have always been planning to do. I planted my very own "malunggay". And boy was I glad that I did it. I felt really good. Gardening is indeed therapeutic. One thing is certain, I will be doing it again. I guess I'll be adding this to my cheap thrill list. :)

A Tooth for a Tooth, An Eye for An Eye?

Last night, I saw the news. Four people were killed in another shootout, this time, in Tanauan, Batangas. These men were believed to be or are suspects, so they say, of the RCBC bank robbery massacre in Cabuyao, Laguna where 10 people were mercilessly murdered. Now, I'm not saying that this right or wrong. It's just that somehow I think the police aren't doing their operations as covert and as tactically as they should. I mean, think of this: You raid a house of a suspected robber and expect to be treated to dinner? Obviously, if there was any truth to your accusations as evidenced by initial investigations, it is only normal to expect hostility from the suspected party. So, if these guys from the police actually know how to deal with this properly, shootouts would be prevented. I understand that we all want a speedy delivery of justice. But if you keep on shooting people (although inevitable in a shootout), how can you possibly say that justice has been served when the people can't even talk to spill stories that would shed further light and understanding regarding the incident? Now, I wouldn't want to think that the police are looking for a "fall guy" or "fall guys" as that. I know that the PNP can really deliver sometimes, if not most of the time. But the incidents of shootouts only add to the death toll of violence. I don't know what sort of strategy they should employ, but I'm sure there are other ways of "getting" the suspects aside from getting them dead in body bags. And let us also not forget, that these people, however evil they may be, are just like many of us -- they have families as well. And for all we know, their families may not even have an inkling as to the extra-curricular activities of their family members, thus, they too are victims. They will mourn as well. Now, if there's ever a good reason for the US Military to visit us, I guess giving the police a training on how to properly conduct an "extraction" in the least violent way possible is what they should do and what we should request. Many times have we seen such scenario in the Philippines. The police can't properly handle a hostage scenario. Remember the boy who was taken as hostage in a bus terminal somewhere in Manila years back? I'm sure you do. I had nightmares after seeing the footage in the news. Clearly, something has to be done differently. Peace and order can only be achieved if our main goal is to save people's lives, no matter how good or evil they may be. After all, we are not God.

Why Silk Plants Make Perfect Sense

These days, just about anything is disposable. We live in an age where we prefer convenience over sentimentality. No longer do we hold on to things that we don't find functional at present. And sometimes, it's actually a good thing. Our house becomes uncluttered, we travel light and we become somewhat free to focus on things that matter most rather than sweating the small stuff.

There are, however things that we prefer to keep, things that we know are valuable to us today and in the future -- something whose functionality will probably outlast any fad and will always be useful to us in the future. Enter silk plants. These "little wonders" are so indispensable in today's living. Let's face it, a house or room without some sort of greenery is less appealing than one that's filled with decorative plants. It adds beauty, creates an ambiance and so much more. But since "living spaces" nowadays tend to be just that -- a "space", we know better that as much as we'd like to decorate it with real plants and trees, it's both almost impossible and impractical. For one, if you live in a high-rise condominium, it might suggest two things: 1. You are a career-driven city-dweller (and a busy one at that), which means that you might not have the time to care for natural decorative plants -- and what a shame and a waste if these plants die uncared for and 2. You are exposed to pollution, which may have caused you to develop asthma or any other lighter although equally annoying allergies that will make exposure to "pollens" intolerable to you. If that's the case, then silk plants are definitely the way to go.

As for me, I have two (2) reasons why I believe silk foliage makes perfect sense. Foremost reason: You will do Mother Earth a great favor by preserving / avoiding felling trees for, say, setting-up the traditional Christmas tree. It's indeed a very special occasion yet we know the harsh reality that the day after it's been set-up, it gets thrown away. There goes another tree -- one that might have lived longer had a silk/faux plant/tree counterpart been used instead. Buying silk foliage will also save you money since, as in the case of the well-loved Christmas tree, you get to use it the following year and the year after. The beautiful real tree then lives and you save money for more important things like presents. Everybody's happy. Second reason, having real plants inside the house also poses a threat of insect infestation. As I've realized of late, a little natural "money tree" we have in the living room harbors mosquitoes that as you might be well aware of, spreads deadly diseases.

That said, I would say that for people who love to decorate their houses or other living spaces with greenery, silk foliage will provide you with many benefits. So, for those who don't have a green thumb but are interested in "greening" your place, there is hope. There are silk plants.

My Podcast is Now Live!

Hello there! :) I'm thrilled to announce that my podcast "A Day In The Life Of RJ" is now live! This is an enhanced version of my new self-hosted blog "A Day In The Life Of RJ" because it contains rich media (meaning audio, video and the like). It took me a little less than two days to set everything up ( see blog here) but I'm very happy with the result. You can check it out at my blog link above or if you want to hear me in your iTunes or iPods, you can can download specific podcasts or sign-up for real-time feeds (updates) powered by FeedBurner. I will be podcasting audio-based journals (maybe videos as well--in the future) of daily adventures and misadventures at home and elsewhere, will express views on certain political and social issues, rant and rave about movies, tips and tricks on how I do stuff and a lot more.. Subscription is not a must but if you do subscribe to my feeds/podcasts, please let me know so I can thank you by writing a review about your blog on my site or podcasting about your site as well. Cool, huh? :) Thanks for your time! Have a nice day! :)

Migrating to My Self-hosted WordPress Blog

I have signed up with Blogger late December 2007 and had much fun blogging ever since. Although, on many occasions I had to put-off blogging for other important things so I ended up having erratic posts. My blog "At A Loss for Words: Writings of a Blogger Wannabe" has served me well and it is definitely my first love, so I can't just delete everything there and start over, even if I must admit that I was tempted to do so..I have realized, however, that this free account at Blogger has been limiting me in many ways in terms of plugins that many WordPress users have been taking advantage of for the longest time. I did try signing-up for WordPress free blog but it turns out it's more limiting than Blogger's free account since most codes aren't accepted and advertisements are barred as well. So I figured, might as well accept the inevitable -- a self-hosted blog. Besides, I've had a paid webhost for many months now but I haven't been taking advantage of this since I'm emotionally attached to my first blog. It's a tough decision to make since the traffic and Technorati authority, however little is very important to me. But as I've written in one of my entries, the "blogger wannabe" needs to grow somehow. It's also been said and blogged, time and again, that a serious blogger must do away with free hosts as much as possible. And I felt that it's high time that I do it since I would eventually do it anyway. Postponing it would only prolong my agony. So there, I installed WordPress on my host and bought a new domain that would go with it. From now on, my official blog will be at which is proudly powered by WordPress. I'm new to WordPress, still learning the ropes, but it's alright. I enjoy the thrill of learning new stuff and I marvel at the realization of "self-taught" knowledge. I will still run my Blogger blog though, since I run paid posts on that site, and my new site wouldn't qualify for SocialSpark until a certain period isn't satisfied. I suppose on my new blog's 3rd month, I can perform 100% migration. Deleting my old blog would still be difficult for me, I know. But 3 months is a long time anyway, I might still change my mind and gather enough strength to click that "Delete Blog" button. Until then, I need to get used to updating quite a few blogs. If you happen to visit, you will notice that I have imported my entries from Blogger. I'm still working on redirecting individual post links to make sure they point to my new site. I will post updates here as soon as they happen. I have one problem with my WordPress blog though, I think cross-posting isn't possible, one which I love about Blogger. Cross-posting has allowed me to just post one time at Blogger then all of my other blogs, including Multiply's will be updated. Maybe it is possible with WordPress. If it is, I will need to figure that out, and soon! If it's not, well.. as in anything, there are tradeoffs. And I'm cool with that. :)

Is your Name on The "Death Note"?

Assuming you have no idea what a "Death Note" is, I guess we can all agree that the mere relationship of those two words would bring chills to your spine. Imagine how it would feel if you did find one and saw your name written all over it. Scary, isn't it? Well, I'm sure I would freak out if not faint instantly or drop dead, if you may. I've had a few encounters with the supernatural and others may not even consider it entirely supernatural at all. But if I had one supernatural characteristic, that would be seeing the future 2-3 seconds ahead. It has happened to me several times before. It manifested in not so grand an event though. I remember the few times it happened when I somewhat saw clearly in my mind that the glass I was holding will drop and break, and break it did, 2 seconds later. Weird, huh?

So, have you heard about "Death Note"? If you haven't yet, read on. It's a new movie from NCM Fathom and Viz Pictures which is based on the highly-successful action mystery manga. It's a story about a student whose name is Light Yagami. It all begins when he finds a "Death Note" which has been left or dropped by a roque Shinigami death god called "Ryuk". Anyone whose name is written on the "Death Note" dies. Light, discovering the supernatural power the note possesses, used it in his mission to eradicate evil from the world. Bad people die, perfect world -- end of story. Sounds right? Not quite. After criminals start dropping dead like crazy, authorities decided to send "L", an ace-detective to hunt down Light who must have been using the Death Note's power irresponsibly and beyond reason. The movie then evolves around character clashes of Light and "L" both trying to prove each other wrong and claiming only one of them is right.

If you are a manga fan, you shouldn't dare miss this movie. For the first time, this story will come alive on the big screen for two (2) nights only, that's May 20 and 21, 2008 at 7:30PM. A special 20-minute feature will also be shown, discussing how this movie came about and the concept behind its adaptation from manga to the big screen. If you dig Red Hot Chili Pepper's music, better still, since their hit song "Dani California" will also be featured.

There's no official rating for the film yet, but it's expected to get an "R" rating. So, please be advised. Tickets are available now but seating is limited so you better get yours now if you're up to see this movie. You can buy tickets by going to the DeathNote website. Just enter your ZIP code and you're good to go. Remember, this movie runs for 2 nights only.

My First MRT Ride

I love firsts. I stood for 15 minutes but I enjoyed every minute of it. I wanted to take photos inside but I respect other people's privacy so I had to restrain myself..hahaha.. :) I wish there was one like it in Calamba.. traffics's horrible here..

My 4th Mother's Day

It seems like yesterday when I celebrated my first Mother's Day, six months after giving birth to my son. Now, it's my fourth. And it always felt even better than celebrating my birthday. Maybe that's because when I celebrate Mother's Day, I always celebrate it with my son. It's like a "mother and son" day. And rightfully so, since without my son, I would not have been a mother. It's amazing how motherhood changes you. Your hormones raging like a teenager -- all whacked-up and uncontrolled, your weight more difficult to manage than ever, your emotions more unpredictable than the weather, your patience tried every minute, makes you irritable and grumpy at times -- many times.. and yet, we mothers know that a simple, innocent and sweet smile from our children makes all those worries and anxieties go away. And somehow, all of a sudden, you don't really care how fat you are or how tired you are chasing your kid the entire day or even how you lose sleep every night making formula for your baby. All you care about is getting that feeling, that certain "high" that nobody else can ever give you, that no amount of promotion, reputation or monetary reward could ever duplicate. And yes, all of a sudden you realize there is meaning to your existence in this world after all. I am blessed. Very blessed. Not all mothers have the luxury of being with their children 24/7. Most mothers are compelled to work all in the interest of their children's future, of course. And I salute those moms. It takes a determined and strong mom to do it everyday. It's heartbreaking to leave a crying child, begging you to stay forever at his side. I remember when I used to work, everyday is a struggle. It would take me almost an hour just saying goodbye. It's never easy.

I thank God for the gift of motherhood. It made me the person that I am today. It may not have made me perfect but it gave meaning to my life. A lot of people go through their lives trying to make sense out of it. Hence the songs like "What's this life for?..". I'm happy to know that I know what my life is for. All I wish is that when my son grows up, he would remember how much I loved him and how having him made living in this crazy world worthwhile and fulfilling.

This is also a tribute to my mom. For all the love and support, for all the pain she endured for us, for all the lessons she taught us, for all the patience she had, for all the understanding she willingly gave us, and for all the time of her life that she spent choosing to do what's good for us over what's good for herself, no amount of words or flowers can ever compensate her.

Today is "Pangea Day"!

Today, May 10th, marks the first run of "Pangea Day". It is a global event whose mission is to unite the world through film and music. Cairo, Kigali, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, and Rio de Janeiro will be joined together for a live program that will showcase films, live music and speakers. It is remarkable that this entire show will be broadcast in seven languages through the internet, television and mobile phones through the support of Nokia. A slew of select films, all 24, will be showcased in the event. These films have been chosen through a contest participated by over a hundred countries and generated over 2,500 entries! It will run for four amazing hours featuring performances from music artists and visionary speakers with no less than Queen Noor of Jordan, CNN's Christiane Amanpour, musician/activist Bob Geldof, and Iranian rock phenom Hypernova participating in the event.

Who's Idea is this?

From award-winning filmmaker Jehane Noujaim who won the TED prize in the annual TED Conference, came this idea, a wish that the world come together for a day through film. This was the realization of that wish.

Why the name?

"Pangea" is a term used to call the single, big continent the world used to be 250 million years ago. As you know, various environmental conditions resulted into its break-up to the continents we know today. So "Pangea Day" is anchored on that hope, that although now physically apart, we are still one world. We are essentially one continent, with the same aspirations, dreams and goals.

My Thoughts

The real essence of "Pangea Day" however, rests in the gradual change that it expects to generate from the event. Because long after the movie's over, the music's gone, and the speeches done, the fact remains that the world is in chaos. There are pressing issues around the globe. Local insurgency, terrorism, food and energy crisis, global warming and climate change, politics and atrocities being committed here and there. I pray that those who participate in this event whether directly or indirectly would effect change in their lives that would cause a chain reaction and inspire more and more people to do the same. As I write this, I am listening to an internet radio stream, the song goes:

" If I had one chance to
In my life again
I wouldn't make no changes
Now or way back when
And if everything turns out
The way I hope it goes
But I cant wait to find out
What it is that God knows
But I don't wanna think about
What's gonna come around for me
I'll just take it day by day
'Cause it's the only way
To be the best that I can be..."

I hope we all turn out to be the best that we can be. And I hope we take it a day at a time. Change will not happen overnight. But it always feels good to know that we're doing something about it, however little. Today is "Pangea Day". Happy "Pangea Day" everyone!

"I'm Sick and Tired of this Business"

That's what Oscar Lopez, chairman of First Philippine Holdings Corp. said amidst all the issues surrounding Meralco these days. And you couldn't really blame him for feeling that way. With the government and the entire Philippines, if you may, all pressuring Meralco to lower the rates while on the contrary a request to increase its rates is still pending at the Energy Regulatory Commission, what's a chairman to do? There doesn't appear to be any move from any party since if I were to believe the papers, GSIS lead by Winston Garcia isn't even sitting down with Meralco's executives to actually discuss means of solving the issue. Instead, they talk to media and expect to arrive with a miracle solution by exchanging views through a third party medium. Are they really that busy to not have time to actually talk face to face? The government, through GSIS has already explicitly denied any intention of a takeover and said they just want a change in management. Now, when you control 33% of stocks, aren't you supposed to have a significant influence on the board? And that said, I guess it's about time they stop talking "over the tv" and start doing it over coffee. Why is this power issue becoming more and more political than economic in the first place? This is probably why power rates in this country is among the highest in Asia if not the world. We're breaking records here, huh? We're also the number one rice importer in the world, among the most corrupt, and what else? Remind me please. Well, I'm sick and tired of Philippine politics. It's gonna kill us all. Run for your lives people!

Blogging has never been this fun!

I've been hanging out at the SocialSpark community these past few days and I must say that I've been having a great time. SocialSpark is a new community for bloggers and advertisers but it's a lot more interactive and fun. It owes its intuitive features to IZEA, the people behind PayPerPost. Just like PayPerPost, it can help you monetize your blog. So if you are looking for a way to earn some money from your blog, it's the best time to sign up. SocialSpark provides an avenue for establishing good reputation with advertisers and within your peers. It's like a cross between a social networking site ( so you can also build a community; but remarkably more fun because at SocialSpark, you meet people who share the same interests as you) and a problogging community of advertisers and bloggers. Because of the many people you interact with, you also drive traffic to your blogs. And aside from earning money, you also gain more exposure through the "spark" opportunities. A "spark" gives you a chance to exchange reviews with other bloggers in your community, thus gaining readership and more traffic.

If you want to connect with fellow bloggers from all parts of the world, you should check it out. I was amazed to see how many Filipino bloggers are in there, specially stay-at-home moms like me. Their blogs are witty, edgy, funky and really interesting reads. It's a relatively new community yet you somehow feel that you've been there a long time because the people are so warm and helpful. Blogger and advertiser profiles are publicly available too, including site statistics. You also know which "opps" goes to whom. So transparency is strictly observed. I haven't taken opps though, my blog has been approved just now. It takes from around 24-72 hours I before it gets approved because they do it manually. It takes time but I'm all for it. Manual verification is the way to go these days, specially that the blogosphere has been penetrated by splogs (spam blogs) and the likes. Blogs with true and relevant content are now few compared to splogs. These people at IZEA have done a really great job coming up with something as wonderful as SocialSpark. It's just my second day as member and I'm loving every minute of it. Pure fun and fulfillment. I also like the "prop" feature. If you liked the blogs and profiles you see, you can give them props. It's a good way to encourage fellow bloggers to write some more. Another thing that I love about SocialSpark is the way their code of ethics is laid out. They have 100% Audit-able In-Post Disclosure , 100% Transparency , 100% Real Opinions and 100% Search Engine Friendly.

They will never force you to write something in a certain tone. You write your opinions and that's it. Blogging has never been this fun and easy and rewarding at that.

There is of course, room for improvement. As I said, this is relatively new. But my personal experience has been awesome. I've met friends online and I look forward to meeting more. SocialSpark has definitely revolutionized the blog advertising and it did so with a blast!

See you at SocialSpark ! :) Sparks are flying!

I Disclose

A Disclosure Policy is a must for every blogger, specially for bloggers who accept paid posts. So, here's mine.

This policy is valid from 08 May 2008

This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Cecilia Regina "RJ" Blanquera-Marmol. For questions about this blog, please contact "RJ Marmol (ceciliareginamarmol [at] yahoo [dot] com)".

This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation.

This blog abides by word of mouth marketing standards. We believe in honesty of relationship, opinion and identity. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post will be clearly identified as paid or sponsored content.

The owner(s) of this blog is compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. Even though the owner(s) of this blog receives compensation for our posts or advertisements, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers' own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.

To get your own policy, go to

Spare us the "Losses" Please

Our Meralco bill used to be around 2,800 pesos. The last month's bill however is just a little shy of 4,000 pesos. Tsk, tsk. I guess there's no stopping power rates from skyrocketing. I suppose the inevitable is here and we must learn to accept it. Gone are the days when electricity computation is extremely easy. I remember being taught in school how to read those Meralco meters, subtracting the previous month's reading from the current month's and then multiplying it with the prevalent rate per kilowatt-hr. And voila! You have the amount due. Now, it's a little bit complicated than that. The frequent clamor for a lower charge has left Meralco with no choice but to "unbundle" the computation specifying where the payment goes to. They would have opted to just lower the rate but I guess that was too much to ask (if we are to believe that they're doing their best to give us the lowest rate) so they chose to just lay out the specifics, hoping that will appease consumers. Apparently, it didn't help at all. Remember electricity "pilferage"? Ring any bell? Well, why would there be a need to track down energy robbers when they can easily get this "loss" from us consumers? Under the "Systems Loss" category, technical and non-technical losses are paid for by end users -- us. Natural and technical losses, those that we can't do without, well I guess we can accept that. But those non-technical ones like power cables and transformers being stolen, can't you spare us that? Please tell us why this is so? Or better yet, can't you find other solutions than just charging this to our bills? There are talks of suspending the VAT for both gas and power, and with Meralco, VAT accounts for a significant amount. However, I personally believe that this should be deliberated well because there are clear repercussions to this move. I read an article that reducing power rates would actually be more anti-poor in that the rich people would actually benefit from this. And this must be true since the needy actually had their power accounts cut-off already. This problem is bigger than how we see it. And it therefore needs a bigger solution and suspending VAT will be a small solution to an already mammoth problem. Something else has to be done, I wish I knew what. But if people in government and business can't think of any, how can they expect commoners like myself to come up with a brilliant idea? Or maybe, they actually know what to do, only that they lack the political will and the business will at that, to act out the plan in their heads because they will somehow be inconvenienced by this plan. Pity. We need more self-sacrificing people around here. I guess what I can do now is use power wisely and sparingly. I guess I should start by using the laptop instead of this desktop. My appeal on the "system loss" charges stay, though.. :)

We Should Be More Thankful

I understand that we are in a crisis right now. Inflation rate is high (power, food, services), bidding for rice purchase has been canceled by PGMA because there aren't any takers, revamp is ongoing at her Cabinet, the peso is not gaining any strength against the dollar for days now and so on and so forth. Problems abound. Wherever I look, whatever I read, whatever I hear all shout of the same issues. And I must admit that I actually felt as if we're the most problematic and hopeless country right now. Not until I heard of the Myanmar (Burma) tragedy. A cyclone has left 22,000 people dead and thousands more remain missing.. Hopefully they're not dead, but we know better. When people get lost amidst a cyclone, chances are they are dead or die looking for shelter and food. A million more people were displaced and lost houses. Aid is coming in from the UN and many other countries including the US which has previously economically banned Myanmar. Reports say that the people weren't properly warned about an incoming cyclone and this is probably the reason for such high death toll. Just the same, I pray that Myanmar recovers from this the soonest they can, although the way their government is run, it doesn't seem likely they will recover anytime soon. This is a time for pondering. I believe that we should be thankful that God has been taking care of us for the longest time. We have endured many economic problems of this kind in the past and I know that we can survive this. We are a strong people. We must not forget that. We should be thankful.

Iron Man, Finally.

"Iron Man" has been out since April 30 and I've been itching to see it long before it was shown. Although the idea that Robert Downey Jr. plays the lead role doesn't excite me that much, I knew that he is a good actor. Talent is not an issue, he did extremely well in the few movies I saw which included him in the lead stars. My dear son, though not a fan of "Iron Man" went to see the movie as well because I forced him. He was actually more excited in watching "Speed Racer" but the movie is yet to be shown May 8 at WalterMart Calamba. Anyway, going back to "Iron Man", I had a great time watching the movie. Special effects, cinematography, script, everything's great. Gwyneth, playing the role of Tony Stark's (Robert Downey Jr.) personal assistant Pepper Potts was very convincing as the "almost in love" and well-meaning assistant who takes care of everything for Tony including occasionally "taking out the trash" -- referring to laundering the clothes of Tony's women (he's a huge womanizer..) and escorting them outside the house that rests on the summit of a hill somewhere in Malibu. Being the whiz kid and now the tech and weapons design and manufacturing genius that he is, you can of course expect that his house is fully-equipped with everything "hi-tech". He even has robots who aide him in his project development and testing. The story effectively unfolds the change of character and "heart" of Tony Stark line by line and scene by scene. Unlike other super heroes, Iron Man is more "human" in the sense that he has clear flaws and shortcomings. He is arrogant and bossy, a wanton womanizer, and well, a happy-go-lucky guy who indulges in probably all the vices there are (I'm assuming, of course). The fight scenes maybe not as many as in other action movies but the ultimate fight between Iron Man and his nemesis (a business partner) is comparable with that fight scene in the "Transformers" movie. Iron Man's suit is awesome. Complete with probably all that a super hero would ever need in a day's work, his suit is a bright and glowing red and gold. My favorite line was perhaps the one where he said to his assistant Pepper "I'm not crazy, Pepper. It's just that, now, I finally realized what I had to do. And I know in my heart that it's the right thing." And I have to give credit where it's due. Robert Downey really nailed it this time. It was a very simple line, no profundity of any sort, but appeared deep and meaningful when he said it that I even want to forget all that issues that he got himself involved with prior to this movie. A good actor has the capability to make a simple line stand out and shine. And now that I've seen Iron Man played by him, I couldn't think of any other actor that would do justice to the role (well, except for Christian Bale, I guess.. my favorite actor since "Equilibrium"). You know what, as much as I'd like to tell you everything about the movie, I'd rather not. And that's because it's too good a movie for any of you to miss. And if only for that reason, I want you to watch it yourself and see exactly what I'm talking about. Watch it guys, it's gonna be worth every cent. A movie this good doesn't come by that often. And for my review rating, I give it 5 exceedingly shiny stars. :)

I Have a New Domain

For easy recall, I've set up a new domain name. From now on, both domains, and will point to my blog site.

I Got Paid $20 USD for My First Article

Just the other day, I got the news. My blog article has been approved. I'm getting $20 USD for that single article. Isn't that awesome? :) I'm beginning to like this paid blogging thing. It was so easy to earn it would seem I'm pulling your leg, dear reader. But it's true. It only took me a few minutes to write that article and now I'm blogging my way to the bank ( well, it isn't much but for a single article , and for a newbie like me, that's good news ). Why don't you guys try it? If you like writing/blogging, it's not wrong to earn from it. So long as the articles do not violate your conscience or beliefs. Besides, you can always choose what you want to blog about. So choose the ones you love. :) There's no harm in trying. You can even start by reviewing my posts. See how easy it is. Everyone's on it already. I know you love blogging. Isn't it time you earn from it? :) Share your thoughts.

Debilitating Diabetes: How to Cope

You've heard the news. You've seen the patients. You've probably read everything there is to know about Diabetes --today's dreaded disease. And I'm sure, you have a friend or a relative somewhere with the same ailment. Diabetes has become so widespread that the consumer market is now flooded with "zero" sugar food and beverages, sugar replacements or alternatives and the likes. While at the same time, fastfoods and convenience stores loaded with sugary products thrive like mushrooms in the forest..they just wouldn't stop coming up with more and more "preserved" and "instant" food products that either cause cancer or diabetes. Never has there been an all-time high in the consumption of "processed" food until now. Diabetes mellitus, Type 2 patients are exponentially growing in numbers. And it's been said, time and again, that this type of Diabetes is actually "acquired" through lifestyle. If that is true, and I'm quite sure it is, then we can expect more diabetics in the years to come. Now, the question is, how do you cope? I'm no expert at this. I'm not a doctor. But my father died from diabetes and hypertension almost 5 years ago. My mother, who's turning 65 this year, also has diabetes and hypertension. My father-in-law also died of diabetes. I am therefore predisposed to it, and so is my husband and my son. So, if anything, I am but a person exposed to Diabetes in more ways than I can possibly be. So, I have devised my own "Top 5 Ways To Cope with/Prevent Diabetes".

1. Nothing beats discipline. - Foods that provide "guilty pleasures" actually cause you more than guilt. It makes you sick. Train yourself to eat only fresh and vitamin-rich foods.
2. Don't hang out with the bad guys. - Smoking and drinking (alcoholic beverages, of course) increase the risk of getting Diabetes or dying soon from it. So, quit now while there's time.
3. Take supplementation/medication. - Whatever vitamins and minerals you can't get from food, make sure you take supplements for. If you already have Diabetes, never skip your medicines. Sure, meds are expensive but not taking meds can cost you your life.
4. Avoid stress. - You know what they say, "don't sweat the small stuff". Have a happy disposition. Be optimistic.
5. Get fit or die. - Diabetes is manageable. It can't kill you if you won't let it. Exercise regularly and boost your immune system.

So, there you go. Again, I'm no expert at this but I just wanted to share this to increase awareness. You might say, "yeah, right. as if there isn't enough awareness already..." Well, you might be right. But then again, if that's true, why are you reading this?" . Love you guys! Take care! Peace out! :)

Art Imitates Life

I'm delighted to have been part of an art-lover's blog. Thanks to Tom Hardy. He manipulates photos in Photoshop and asked if he can use some of my blog photos. And boy, am I glad I said yes. He used some of my "riverview swimming photos" and I must say it's really nice. The edited photos look impressive and well-made. I knew you can do a lot with Photoshop but when you actually see the result, it still invokes a feeling of awe. Maybe because I never had that kind of talent in terms of art. It's fascinating how art captures life in such a vivid yet abstract form. Sounds contradicting, but it makes sense to me. The colors appear as if dancing to a rhythm, very nice contrast... I would have wanted to embed all photos here but I feel that Tom deserves credit for a job well done so I'd rather send you to his site for more of my photos edited by him. See all of Tom's art at his blog site. Thanks again, Tom. Keep 'em coming!

Hey, Guys I Have New Blogs!

I found it difficult to classify or categorize this blog since the topics here have been uncontrolled for quite some time. This is supposed to be my "personal" blog chronicling my life but eventually turned into a collection of varied topics. To make things easier for me and to practice structured blogging, I recently created new blogs to cater to various topics. This is also an attempt to create or find a niche that I'll be comfortable and able to sustain long-term. I blog about many things and still want to blog about many more. I only hope to have enough passion and skill in me to ensure all blogs are updated as often as possible.

Here are my new blogs. I hope you guys get to read these as well. :)

"One Political Filipino" -
- "I am political sometimes. I am Filipino, always. My take on political issues."

"Watch and Learn: Movies and Reviews" -
- "I watch. I learn. I blog. Movie reviews from a nobody. It's about time the mere mortals write reviews. :)"
"Songs with Sense: A Collection of Loved Lyrics" -
- "A lyrics blog of songs I love. This is the soundtrack of my life."

"Romancing the Eee PC" -
-Others call it "Love at first sight." I call it destiny. I was never a hopeless romantic until I met my Eee PC. Love never felt this good. And it's getting better everyday... Life and love of an ASUS Eee PC lover.

My Summer Officially Started Today at RiverView

I know, right? Summer started months ago. But not for me. :) My summer has just begun. It's a few days late though (should have started on my birthday, April 8), but you know what they always say, "it's better late than never.." so I guess I'll settle with "late". Anyway, this swimming schedule is a spur of the moment thing. Ritchie thought of it the night before. I wasn't really ready, but heck, I know my husband, he changes his mind at the last minute so I thought, yeah, right, swimming..blah, blah, blah. :) But as it turned out, he was serious about it this time that he didn't even sleep when he got home from a 10pm -6am work schedule.
About RiverView, it's the closest resort to our village so convenience is one factor fully satisfied by that. It has one kiddie pool and one olympic-sized swimming pool. Bert Lozada's Swimming School holds classes here during weekends so we we're able to see some kids learning how to swim. They're actually good. And I envy them. I don't know how to swim and I'm reluctant to learn now that I'm 29. Somebody told me you're never too old to learn swimming or driving or anything. But somehow, I feel different. I think I have subconsciously accepted that I'll never learn how to swim. It's frustrating actually. It's very disappointing that I don't get to enjoy attending pool parties the same way swimmers do. That's because I either dip in the water and stay at one corner or refuse to dip altogether. :) I hope I still learn how to swim. Maybe one of these days, "one of these very ordinary days" as the Barry Manillow song goes.. :)

Here's Good News, At Last!

I've been reading some news these days and nothing has changed, really. It's all the same -- politics, crime, poverty, etc.. So when I came across something more positive, I couldn't help but share it. Besides, everything good is worth sharing.

I've watched "An Inconvenient Truth" on an orginal VCD (not bragging, just expressing support in the fight against anti-piracy that supports terrorism all over the world, but that's a different topic altogether, so I'll save it for next time :)haha..)I bought from Odyssey few months back. And it really is "an inconvenient truth", if it were true. There are of course skeptics who say that it is completely absurd or exaggerated, but these skeptics are those who actually know nothing about climate research so I guess I'd rather believe statistics and solid data rather than seemingly profound yet empty words lacking proof of any form. And the "Aries" personality in me would want to focus on prevention rather than cure. All of us should, actually. Now, the government, amidst all the politics and economic crisis has managed to devise this plan (i hope not just to distract us all from all the other political issues,though)of including climate change in the curriculum for the next school year (that's june of this year). The news reads "3 State Agencies to Integrate Climate Change Topic in Education Curriculum". According to this news, and I quote "To raise awareness on climate change, the Presidential Task Force on Climate Change (PTFCC), Department of Education (DepEd) and the National Power Corp. (Napocor) recently signed a memorandum of understanding aiming to integrate a subject or topic in climate change in the school curriculum.". This is what I'm talking about. Let politicking take a sidestep for a while and let's concentrate on matters that involve us "all" and when I say all, I mean "all the world", "all of us". I'm not saying we'll have to ditch politics altogether because it is also essential in our lives. What I'm saying is that while we're at it, let's not forget that there are issues that are bigger than "lozada" or the rice crisis or the price increases. There are issues that are beyond us, of a bigger impact and relevance. Let us not forget that. And let us be aware of our responsibilities. Just a thought. To read the full news article, click here.

I Signed Up for PPP!

Hello all! You may have noticed changes in my blog since last night. I've long been toying with the idea of trying pro-blogging for a change, but I've never really got the time to research on it until now. All over the net, there are hundreds I guess, if not thousands of companies that do blog sponsorship through blog advertising. As if tv, print and radio weren't enough, and evidently it isn't, marketing and advertising has tapped into the blogworld resource. The world has definitely changed a lot since then. The emergence of such companies opened up a whole world of opportunity for advertisers and bloggers alike, considering that they will now benefit from each other. Of all the companies offering pro-blogging jobs, and mind you, there are a lot ( and most of them are actually scams, so beware), I was convinced that PayPerPost (PPP) is the real deal. I did a lot of net research and read from a lot of people who actually benefited from PPP in more ways than you can imagine. And for a stay-at-home mom like me who enjoys writing, this seemed like such a great opportunity to pass up. I actually had second thoughts about doing pro-blogging if only for the reason that I might not be able to write about things that I love in exchange for this money-making blog topics. That to me is not a sacrifice I'm willing to take. I love writing and the last thing I'd ever want to happen is to sound dull and boring because of I've lost interest in what I write about, or worse, be forced to write about things I do not like at all. But PPP seemed too good to be true. And even so, I wanted to give it a try and see how far this will take me. Right now, PPP and myself are on a "getting-to-know-you" stage. And I'm so eager to know more about PPP. With PayPerPost, you don't have to sacrifice anything. You can and will always write only of things you love, love, love. I thought this wouldn't be possible for a paid blog but it is with PPP. The burning question for those who are not familiar with it is of course, the payment terms. How do I get paid? Don't we all love the answer to that question? :) PayPerPost as the name suggests, pays you per post (per article). And it pays you by sending credits to your PayPal. So if you don't have a PayPal account yet (where have you been all these years?), I suggest you sign up for a PayPal account first. Don't you worry, it's not rocket science, it's definitely easier than preparing your tax returns.. :) I remember the first time I stumbled upon PPP on a Google search, that was towards the end of last year. I was itching to try it but felt disappointed when I found out that your blog has to be 90 days old based on your first post and should have at least 20 posts at least for it to be approved. And so I waited, I almost forgot all about it until I scanned my e-mail and saw the PPP message when I first signed up. I resubmitted my blog last night and was immediately approved. Their response time is oh so fast. It's good to know though that effective yesterday, blog requirements are not as strict as before. Now, you can have your 30-days-old and up blog approved as long as it has at least 10 posts! I wish I had that chance! :) So to all bloggers out there, I suggest you sign up now. There's absolutely nothing to lose and a lot to gain! Join me now and let's give it a shot. I know you guys have been blogging for the longest time now. It's about time time that you get paid to blog now! Who knows, it might just be well worth it. And I'm pretty sure it will be. Hmmm, I wonder what I'll do with all the money I'll get...hahaha! :) Let me know what you think! Bye for now, I've got some blogging to do (about things i love, of course). :) All the best!

Beanstalk Cafe: Inspiring a Natural View

Me and my sister managed to talk a bit yesterday over coffee (frappe, actually) at Beanstalk Cafe at the 5th floor of the Calamba Executive Center, fronting Mart-One grocery at Crossing. Meralco Foundation Institute's new branch and a Globe Business Center is housed in the same building. When I first came in, I couldn't believe how many establishments they can pack in's a really small one, you know. Beanstalk naturally occupied the last floor. I thought I wouldn't like it. But, boy I did. The frappe was good. The guys serving coffee were all nice and friendly. But most of all, it had a nice view of Mt. Makiling. It made me think about the irony of life -- that while we strive to be as hip and "high-tech" as we can possibly be by surrounding ourselves with gadgets, it is still our nature to seek calm and serenity; that as hurried & busy we all have been, we still desire to stop & reflect. P.S. I'm blogging from my mobile phone. :-) Now, if only they had wi-fi there...hmmm.. :)

I'm Officially 29 Today

There's no stopping time. And although I'd like to discuss whether it is indeed linear as we know it or cyclical as the Mayas believed it, I'd rather not. Today is my birthday and many things happen when a person celebrates his/her birthday. That, I want to discuss. I was born on a Palm Sunday. So, I'm used to celebrating my birthday occasionally within Holy Week or plus minus a few days..That being the case, my birthdays are mostly quite. No fireworks or festive celebrations. It doesn't bother me one bit though, as I'm not too critical when it comes to that. But there are a few occasions when I had memorable birthdays, not because I had a party of some sort, but because I was either physically ill or emotionally battered. Today's not an exception. And it's mainly my fault. I have been reckless and insensitive and I only deserved what I got. Enough said.

Panic Buying and the Media

I have a sari-sari store. For those who aren't from around here (in this country), it's a convenience/retail store. I've opened barely a month ago and I must say, it's hard work. It's no joke to open up such a low-end business . Inventory and price monitoring is a pain in the neck. In the short span of time that my little store is in operation, I've seen consistent and drastic price increases across all basic commodities. Sometimes, I don't even know if it's still reasonable , considerate and humane to have a 1 peso profit margin. A lot of people depend on sari-sari stores for their purchases and I can only feel empathy for us all who stretch our budget just so we can spend within our means. It started out with pan de sal, then cooking oil, then rice... and now, everything else is having a price increase. Though I know it's inevitable, I still believe that this is manageable. Only that, we lack strict implementation on century-old (allow me to exaggerate) policies. It's very frustrating that this is happening in an economically-challenged country as ours. What could be worse? I can't even think of any. I think these "guys" prepping for the presidential elections this early should do something about this rather than busying themselves in organizing political campaigns disguised as "congratulations, graduates!" ads. People who are in power whether as a result of an electoral process or a capitalist business venture, should help out the government and the people survive this trying times. Just a little over a week ago, I can buy rice for 28 pesos (of good quality) and sell it for 30 pesos. Now, the one selling for 34 pesos looks just a bit nicer than NFA rice. And while the government is assuring us that there is enough supply to get us through the "ber" months, the groceries prove that there really is lack of supply (and by that I mean, supplies are not available because of various reasons, be it insufficient harvest, too high demand, or as a result of hoarding by rice cartels). And the media isn't helping by bombarding us all the more with bloated and sensationalized news that rice purchases will eventually be regulated/controlled per household. We are Filipinos, we worship rice. A lot of us can survive without meat but can hardly eat without rice in the table. So what do you expect? Bingo!
Panic buying. At least those who have the extra money to spend. So now, the restaurants are seemingly unaffected by the situation, because they can certainly panic-buy. I hope the media finds a way to attack the issue from a different perspective and devise creative ways to influence the people to stay calm and act appropriately relative to the situation and not fan the flames of panic that is now consuming all of us. Instead of reminding us every now and then that there is lack of supply, why don't they (the media) research on and show alternative ways of solving the problem? Or at the very least, refrain from exaggerating stories. I know it's not their job to solve this issue, but we all have a role to play, and evidently, panic-buying is happening as a result of someone's role not being played-out well. Who's role? You tell me.