Thursday, November 29, 2007

Parkmall: Cebu's Newest Shopping Destination

The face of Cebu is changing once again with the entry of a new mall. I’m talking about Parkmall, that large structure under construction right now beside the Cebu International Convention Center.

It is about 30,000 square meters of great choices, situated in a six-hectare land expanse in 168 Ouano Avenue, Mandaue Reclamation Road, Mandaue City. The area is right in the heart of an emerging commercial district in Mandaue City. Parkmall is Cebu’s upcoming biggest value shopping destination.

Though expected to fully open in 2008, they are having a Christmasfest starting tomorrow till Sunday and continued on the next weekend (Nov 30 – Dec 2 and December 7-9, 2007). They’re open from 2pm to 10pm. Aside from the bazaar, here are some of their highlights.

- Daily freebies for lucky shoppers
- Daily Giant slide
- (Dec 1 & 8, 4pm) Children’s party
- (Dec 1, 7pm) Acrobat show
- (Dec 9. 7pm) Magic show
- (Dec 1) Art Exhibit
- Anticipated mass 6pm, Saturdays
- Live in concert:
(Nov 30, 8pm) Rockn’ reggae night with Powerspoonz
(Dec 1, 8pm) Acoustic blues & pop night with B’dict
(Dec 7, 8pm) 40 (the band)
(Dec 8, 8pm) Fashion show with Cattski

Getting there is not a problem. They have shuttle pick-up points at the following areas:

RECLAMATION: Equitable (across SM), CDU, North bus terminal
BANILAD:USC-TC, UC Banilad, Cebu Home & Builders, Norkis
MACTAN: Mercado Mactan, MEPZ1 – Save More, Gaisano Mactan
LAHUG: Skyrise, Asiatown IT Park, JY Square
AYALA: Asilo, FGU-Cebu Business Park, Offroads

For sure I’ll be there this weekend. I am not paid to make this post, but just plugging for a friend whose family owns the place. For more details, call 0922-2806348 and/or (6332) 3447817.

Searching for MP3 Players

There are days when I would just like to withdraw from the noise outside my office cubicle. I plug my earphone to my laptop and then listen to all my “Jars of Clay” collection.

But many times I wished of buying a portable mp3 player, the one that I can carry anywhere I go. You know those long trips and the time spent on waiting at the airport. It’s not only music that I listen to. I have plenty of e-books too, gathering dusts on my desk.

I did not know that you can buy an mp3 player for as low as £3.99. Savebuckets is a website that offers mp3 players at different prices, sizes, brands and color. It is easy to navigate. You can search any brand or product you want and compare prices too. I just checked the both the iPod and the Creative Zen mp3players. Check their site now and you’ll surely find more gadgets than what you are looking for.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Crossing the River

I’m happy on my side. They’re happy on theirs. They can see me, and I can see them waving with something in their hands. I must admit I took a peek, with the web as a scope, zooming in on how they did it.

A friend crossed over, finding the waters shallow, and saying it’s time to earn something out from the activities he loves. He surely did not abandon his flair in making lively posts, while getting paid on the sides.

I followed suit and decided to cross the river of paid blogging.

I signed up with Smorty last night and guess what? They approved my blog in less than twelve hours. Smorty is a service connecting advertisers with bloggers. Advertisers can advertise on blogs and pay bloggers to write opinion posts about their products or services. This will eventually benefit the advertiser as it increases their product exposure and inbound links.

For bloggers, you get paid for blogging. You really don’t have to burden yourself with what to write on a certain day. You can either blog for money, or just write for some other reasons. With Smorty, there are plenty of paid blogging opportunities. And you can certainly spice it up with your own writing style.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Stronger Peso and the Need for More Dollars

From P56 three years ago, it’s now down to P42.85 a dollar. Good news or bad news?

Is there really a strengthening of the peso? Economists say that the $14.6B OFW remittances in 2006 (and growing more in 2007) buoyed the value of the peso. And they say it’s good for the economy. Thanks to our New Heroes! Along with their families’ improved conditions, needs also increase. With this, they are more likely to pour in more dollars.

But what about inflation and the rising prices of fuel? What about our own export industry?

Imagine if it were at P56 to a dollar rate. Juan’s $500 remittance is equivalent to P28,000. His wife in the Philippines spends it for Junior’s and his siblings’ tuition, food, house maintenance, etc… Then the peso rose to P42.85. To be able to cover the same expenses, Juan needs to remit $653.54 or an increase of 31%. But it’s actually not enough. We all know of the rising prices, inflation, and all the other problems the government tried to downplay.

Now for the exporter, he earns lesser compared to what he earns before. The prices of these export goods are controlled by the market, hence, the exporter doesn’t really have a say on the price. With the increasing costs, margins become thinner and may even be totally eliminated forcing some to close shop.

But what did the government do? Are there any safety nets for who are badly affected by this rise of our currency? Perhaps now, our best exports are our people. Call it brain-drain or whatever. It seems that nobody cares anymore. We have plenty of RNs yet hospitals lack nurses. We have plenty of CPAs yet there seems to be a shortage.

Who among my PwC buddies remained here? Sadly, only a few of us are left here. Almost all of my wife’s classmates in nursing already left the country and found greener pasture abroad. Who’s gonna prevent us from seeking employment outside the country? The government even encourages it. And, yeah, we need more dollars to survive in this country.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Typhoon Again

People in Luzon should brace themselves again. Typhoon “Mina” is coming to town. As of 2AM today, the eye of the Typhoon is spotted at 220 kms East Northeast of Virac, Catanduanes with maximum sustained winds of 175 kph and gustiness of up to 210 kph.

If the forecast is true, then Metro Manila will be spared, but not Northern Luzon. But we know how unpredictable the weather is. The next forecast may be far different from the previous one. Cebu experienced this many times. Some people here no longer rely on Pag-asa forecasts. They say they’d rather cling to the Boy Scout’s motto.

Some of my officemates in Manila are here in Cebu right now because of some conference that ended yesterday. They were told by some of the bosses to book their flights early today. But I told them to enjoy the beach and the fine weather while they’re here. It would be better if they wait till the sky is clear and the typhoon is no more. And they seemingly agreed.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

England Crashed Out from Euro 2008

It is a very sad day for England. Their football team crashed out of the Euro 2008 competition, after a 3-2 loss to Croatia. The Euro competition is second to the World Cup in terms of everything. But the woeful England, even failed to qualify. Thanks to their manager. Crashing out early is really an embarrassment.

Steve McLaren should be hiding by now and may he never show his face again in English football. But reports say he’s not resigning. Then fire him.

Where’s Lampard? Where’s Gerrard? Where are the glittering superstars for England? Do I need to mention Beckham, Terry and the others? European fans will simply miss another great team.

I’d be rooting for Portugal again. Go, Ronaldo!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Blog Visits

I wasn’t able to visit the sites of my blog friends last week. Meetings here and there, and even my mind can’t wander to some place else. We have internet in the office, but it’s difficult to take a peek even at my own site. The big boss is seated right beside me.

We have internet at the hotel. But it costs P240/hr for a wifi. Why is it that they don’t have free internet in Manila? In most hotels in the Visayas and Mindanao, hotels offer free wifi connection. I’d better spend that 240 on something else.

I was off the internet world the whole weekend, having slept most of the time on my birthday. I just wake up to eat, and reply to text greetings.

Yesterday would have been a great time to bloghop. But the tropical depression scared the hell out of us. We were released from the office an hour early. But I stayed on for a while browsing until they shut down the back-up generator.

Today, I have 122 unread items listed in my google reader. These are mostly from the blogs in my links. Plus, there’s my blogroll with markings of those who have updated their blogs. Now, where do I start reading?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Raining in Cebu

I thought it was just an ordinary cloudy day. But it was raining since dawn and the wind outside is getting stronger. I took the photo below when I went outside for a drive early this afternoon. It's one of those flooded streets.

Lando. It’s a rare name for a tropical depression with winds up to 60kph. But I just hope the forecast will not go wrong this time. It’s signal no. 1. I’d better pack up now and head home. I should get ready for emergencies.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Disclosure Policy

This policy is valid from 26 November 2007.

This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. For questions about this blog, please contact me at Lazarus_x2006 At Yahoo Dot Com Dot Ph.

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Manila - Flood, Traffic and Cabbies

I’m here in Manila since yesterday. I’m again expecting traffic, meetings and floods. With today’s outpouring, I’m sure the Manila streets will be flooded again today and in the next few days. Good thing we left the hotel early. We avoided the traffic and the flood. But I hope I won’t be stuck here. I have to go back to Cebu this Saturday to celebrate my birthday.

This morning we met an honest cabbie. Honest enough to tell us that his meter is not working properly and that we should only pay for the usual fare in our destination. I told him that from Malate to Paranaque, my fare is usually P150 though the meter reads only around 120-140 pesos. He agreed. He added that he informs his passenger beforehand about his defective meter to avoid arguments. But I told him that there is also the possibility that others could be fooled, so he’d better have his meter fixed asap. He said that he’ll do that once he has the funds.

In our conversation, I noticed his Bisayan tone. I was also trying hard to speak fluent Tagalog. We kept on pretending until he heard my companions speak Bisaya. He admitted that he’s Cebuano too. When we reached our destination, his meter reads P210. But I gave him the agreed fare, plus a little tip. No arguments there.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Plugging for JAVI

This is not a sponsored nor paid post. I'm just plugging for JAVI who made an interesting campaign for his Technoblog in his quest of becoming the Filipino Blog of the Week in SalasWildThoughts.

If you want to read about the latest gadgets, or tips about site traffic, networking, problogging, or any topic in the known world..., his site is a must read.

This post is just for fun and may be taken out anytime this week. But please do vote for him. vote here>>>

Monday, November 12, 2007

'Tis My Birth Month Too

Ah, sweet November! I would like to greet a Happy Birthday to all bloggers out there who are celebrating their birthdays this month. This I found out in my recent bloghopping: There are plenty of them. I’ve already greeted some in their blogs.

It’s my birthday this Saturday, and I’ll be a year past the last number of the monthly calendar. Seems like a public announcement, huh? I composed a birthday poem last year out of a certain mixed feelings of elation and desolation. But for this time around, I choose to be thankful.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


photo from

When you watch a lot of fantasy movies, your head swirls and twirls and then you dream in your sleep, flying over rooftops and moving objects with your mind. You stretch forth your hand to ward off enemies, but you wake up punching the air.

That’s what happened to me last week. It’s the effect of watching Heroes Season 1 on DVD. For two successive sleeps, I dreamt I have special powers. Oh my me, dreaming like Peter Petrelli!

Active evolution, random genetic alteration, what are these? Are these offshoots of eugenics, and its followers’ obsession for a stronger, wiser, more advanced generation? Can a person really do telekinesis if his genes are altered? Are there persons out there who can really do the things Superman does?

Maybe. Maybe not. There is also a verse in the bible in Genesis 6:4 “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown. (NIV)”

Who are the Nephilim? What can they do? Can they fly? Can they do skin regeneration? Think all you can. How did they become heroes? Are they like the Greek gods with special powers? Or are they mixed bloods of rebel angels and willing humans?

But I would like to believe that no amount of genetic alteration or modification can make a person fly or physically regenerate. I am not a fan of evolution. But I am a fan of fantasy movies, however unbelievable it is. It is entertainment. As to the superpower thing, I believe it is of the paranormal; spiritual rather than science. X-Men, Justice League and Heroes may have played with science to distinguish it from the magical, like the Harry Potters. But there is still the common ground: Superpowers.

So, what if I have unknown special powers? Hmmm…

Monday, November 05, 2007

What's Your PR?

PageRank (PR) is a measurement used by Google to determine the importance of a particular webpage. There are many blogs out there with suggestions on how to improve one’s PR. Evoart mentions 10 ways to guarantee google rankings. But does it really matter?

I first read about PR in Daisy’s site sometime early this year. I was wondering how mine fared in the rankings. So I tried Google’s PR checker. I got a rank of 2 then. I was tempted to compare it with the other sites in my blogroll. Except for a few and the more popular, we all have more-or-less similar PRs: 1-3.

Then in July, I made this post. It was because I was so excited to see my site on top of the others (even the dotcom) when I googled “leftover thoughts”. My PR rank had risen to 3, and blog authority at technorati was at 56.

But just late last month, I saw my PR at 4. This raised my eyebrow a little bit. Why? How? My technorati authority dipped to around 40 already. Except for some memes I did, I was not even promoting my site through bloghopping. I just noticed though, in my sitemeter, that plenty stumbled upon my site because of google search.

So, what’s the use of my PR 4? For now, nothing. It is just some ego-boosting thing, like a trophy, when you don’t have ads plastered in your site. PR is only necessary when you have paid posts and ads, or when you need traffic to feed your pocket. And I might make something useful out from my PR soon.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Flowers on the Grave

I remember a text message passed around years ago about visiting the grave of the departed loved ones. It says something that it’s better that we visit the dead rather than they pay us a visit. Scary, huh?

I am not really used to visiting the grave of dead loved ones, because I believe that what remain in the grave are the bones and ashes. I’d like to remember them in my thoughts in some place else, but not in the cemetery. But my wife’s aunt invited us (I mean all her relatives) to visit her husband’s grave on November 1. Good thing the memorial park is new and not so crowded yet. My wife arranged the flowers in the baskets. And we noticed we’re the only ones having red flowers.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Goodbye from a Departed

Tales of my Father - Part 6
(narrated in the first person as told to us by my father)

I grew up very close to my grandfather, Tatay Melecio. When I was still 8 years old, I used to go with him everywhere he goes, may it on his fishing trips, his farming or his visits to the market. And he used to tell me long, believe-it-or not tales, about persons with supernatural powers and encounters with the other kind.

He’s not really the recluse or the mystical kind who barely talks to anyone or move objects telekinetically. He’s quite talkative to me and to the other kids. And he said he knew some Latin chants to counter the works of evil magic. He had no magical object either except for his pipe which he considered as his lucky charm. At seventy, he’s still strong and healthy.

In one of our conversations one day, we talked about death. We made a promise to each other that whoever dies first should at least say goodbye to the one left behind. I had no qualms about it, so I hastily agreed. I was still a child then not knowing how it would happen.

More than 20 years had passed. I was already married with kids, worked and lived in the city. One night, after a very tiring work, I immediately went to sleep. And there in my sleep, I felt a sudden slap of a very cold air. Then a voice, very audible to me, said, “Boy, I’ll go ahead. Goodbye!” I felt the stiffness of my body. I can’t even move my hands. But the voice is clearly that of Tatay Melecio. My thoughts immediately brought me back to the scene where Tatay and I made the promise.

I immediately got back my reflexes and I woke up like I had a nightmare without the screams. It was already 5am. My wife got up a few minutes after. I told her that Tatay died already.

“How did you know?” she asked.

“Tatay spoke to me in my sleep.”

She was clearly puzzled but didn’t ask further questions. I also informed my mother about it. She was shocked and even scolded me. “How can you say that about your grandfather? You haven’t even seen him in months.”

“Yeah, I know he’s bed-ridden. But believe me. Vivian (a cousin who took care of Tatay), will come this morning and inform us. I’ll call the other grandchildren when I arrive at the office.”

Indeed, three hours after, my cousin arrived and brought the sad news. My wife and my mother just looked at each other, still puzzled at how I was able to know about Tatay’s death.

Parts 1-5 here.