Sunday, October 24, 2010

Trying-Hard Haggler

Yesterday I went to Tutuban Mall. I would have wanted to go to Divisoria mall but I got stuck in traffic. The normal 30-minute drive from Makati to Divisoria became a two-and-a-half-hour ordeal. When I tried to maneuver, as I thought of taking another route, I was caught on a u-turn violation. What I did to get away without paying the hefty fine is another story. But it's somewhat related to my title, if you get my drift.

So, what's with Tutuban?. First, I wanted to buy some RTWs to bring to Cebu. Second, I wanted to try my best to haggle like my wife does when she goes to the area. The P250 becomes P150, or something like that. Wifey sells them at margin.

My problem is not in the selection of items to buy. I can manage even if I have to endure the suspecting gaze of the salesladies. "What is this big guy doing, buying women's clothes?". I don't also need to ask the salesladies of their opinion on the design of the clothes. If I like what I see, I directly go for it.

Now, I have this difficulty in haggling, negotiating with the seller to bring their price down. P250 for a dress is already cheap, right? That is if you are in a department store. But in Divisoria, you can bring it down to P100 if you have the skills. So what were my intro lines?

"I buy these for wifey. I'm gonna resell these. I have no money left, and I appreciate if you sell it to me at this price." I am a trying hard haggler, you know. The most I got is a P50 reduction of their initial price. For the uninitiated, this is already a good start. But I am not yet satisfied.

If I'm gonna resell to wifey all the items I bought yesterday, I'm very very sure that I will incur losses.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Where's The Blog Money?

This blog already earned around $500. This month? Before your imagination goes wild, I want to make it clear. I made around $500 only in its more than four years of existence. On the average, it's roughly $10 a month. If I bought Starbucks coffee with it, I only got to drink three mocha frappe.

So, where do you find the big money in blogging?

After the sponsored post frenzy two years ago, wherein I earned 99% of my keep, the income from this blog is purely on adsense. And looking at my adsense stats, I earn less the twenty cents per month. I got a big fat zero yesterday, and nothing also the other day. Maybe I should write weird stuff in here. A lot of people are searching for scandals, right?

Seriously, there are ways to make money from one's blog. Here a video posted two years ago by someone who must be successful by now:

Now you can earn millions with your blog. Sorry I didn't.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

So, You're A Blogger Too!

A few days ago, I had this conversation with a new colleague and she noticed the sticker on my laptop. "What is that sticker?" she asked. "It's very familiar to me."

I told her that it's a Wordpress sticker. "Wordpress is a blogging platform" I added. What was supposed to be a work-related conversation shifted to blogging. She has a blog too, using an alias she don't want me to know about.

"So, you must have started it 3 or 4 years ago?" I told her. "Every blogger then used an alias".

She smiled. "I have a few entries in that blog that a colleague once told me that I could publish them. But I don't want my real name attached to it, and publishers, she said, won't publish works of anonymous writers. And... it's just some personal essays."


I discreetly searched her name, (yahoo and google alike) like a detective. No relevant results. I don't really know why I did it. Maybe it's because I want to see the person behind their corporate persona. But then again, if she wants to keep it a secret, why my intrusion? No one would like their diaries read without the owners permission, isn't it?

Monday, August 30, 2010

When God Ran

I thought the song title "When God Ran" was ridiculous and blasphemous when I first heard of it way back a couple of decades ago. A friend recommended it and lent me a cassette tape. I almost cried the first time I heard the song. It was about the prodigal son and God's love for all of his children, strayed or not. I copy recorded it and played it over and over again.

Here's youtube video of "When God Ran" .. by Benny Hester:

And for the lyrics, it is here:

WHEN GOD RAN (by Benny Hester)

Almighty God,
The Great I Am
Immovable Rock,
Omnipotent powerful

Awesome Lord,
Victorious Warrior
Commanding King of Kings
Mighty Conqueror,

And the only time,
the only time I ever saw Him run
Was when He ran to me,
Took me in His arms, held my head to His chest
And said "My son's come home again".
Looked in my face, wiped the tears from my eyes
With forgiveness in His voice
He said "Son, do you know I still love you?"

It caught me by surprise when God ran

The day I left Home,
I knew I'd broken His heart
I wondered if
Things could ever be the same,

Then one night,
I remembered His love for me
And down that dusty road, ahead I could see
It's the only time,
the only time I ever saw Him run

Was when He ran to me,
Took me in His arms, held my head to His chest
And said "My son's come home again".
Looked in my face, wiped the tears from my eyes
With forgiveness in His voice
He said "Son, do you know I still love you?"

It caught me by surprise, He brought me to my knees
When God ran
I saw Him run to me
And then I ran to Him

Instrumental Bridge

Holy God, Righteous One
Who turned my way
Now I know, He's been waiting
For this day

{Repeat Chorus}

And then He ran to me,
Took me in His arms, held my head to His chest
And said "My son's come home again".
Looked in my face, wiped the tears from my eyes
With forgiveness in His voice
I felt His love for me again

{Repeat Chorus}

He ran to me,
Took me in His arms, held my head to His chest
And said "My son's come home again".
Looked in my face, wiped the tears from my eyes
With forgiveness in His voice
He said Son, He said Son, My Son!
Do you know I still love you
oohhh...He ran to me
When God ran

May God touch your hearts as you listen to the song. He loves you no matter what.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Spur of the Moment

One good thing about blogging is that you can write anything you want anytime you want. There is no pressure for me to fill this blog with blahblahs. Even if I'd stay silent for a month or two without updates, I'd still be able to sleep worrying not about web metrics. I have no obligation to please my readers either. But if you are wondering where I am or what I am up to, I am just around Metro Manila. Almost two years ago I left Cebu for a temporary assignment here. (My bosses would raise their eyebrows if I say temporary. But really, this world is just a temporary place for us.)

This blog was created at the spur of the moment. A friend told me about blogging, then suddenly out of the blue, I registered a blogger account and wrote my first post on March 16, 2006. I was fighting off boredom so I titled my first post, "Boredom".

This spur-of-the-moment writer in me got so excited that from 2006-2008, I was able to write 321 blog posts. Of course, there were lots of trash in there that earned me a few hundred dollars. And it's not something that I should be ashamed of. This is my blog, and I can do whatever I want to do with it. I can sell it if I want to. But who would buy it? Offer me something that I cannot refuse. Yeah, who cares about PR4 these days.

So I'll just write my leftover thoughts. If you have your own writing standards, keep it in your blog, please. Also, let's no longer talk about passion to blog, because maybe that stage is behind me now.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Stupid, Stupid

Stupid of me not to make updates for this site for many many weeks. A lot of things has changed - even the looks of this site. Blogger has really made improvements to make them more relevant and attractive to bloggers and readers alike. Don't you like my new mask?

So what's with the title? Nothing really. It's just a remark I overheard from someone. "Stupid, stupid! That guy is really stupid!" If it was just in a movie, I'd like to join him. But it was not. It was directed at a colleague who was just doing what was vaguely instructed to him by a boss.

We do stupid things sometimes. Or maybe we watched too many movies where cursing is as common as a period in a sentence. A joke may be tolerable. But in all seriousness, and you call someone stupid, damn or fool, you're actually inviting hailstorms from heaven to fall on you.

If you call me stupid, I'll hate you forever. Stupid and hate aren't really in my dictionary. Peace, brother!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Thoughts On Spain Winning The World Cup

It will be Spain's first. First at the Finals, first trophy if they win, and first team to win the cup despite losing its opening match. Would you believe that they had not entered the semifinals in any of the World Cup they joined? Considering that they have Real Madrid and Barcelona, two of the world's top clubs, Spain should be on top of the football world, right?

Now Spain is on top of the world, literally. Spain is seeded second to Brazil. Now that the five-time winner is out, Spain is the toughest bunch into the Finals. They will face Robben-led Netherlands, the team that disposed of Brazil in the quarterfinals.

Spain's Chances

Spain is the heavy favorite to win the 2010 World Cup, especially now that they easily disposed of the quick-footed German team in the semis. The current team is fast, and jelled well in the rotation. 7 of the players are from Barcelona and 3 from Real Madrid. The Barcelona-type of play of quick touches and slick passing is very evident in their every match. This is the type of football everyone loves.

David Villa is the main man for Spain. He scored 5 goals in six games and is every inch a remarkable striker. Villa is ably assisted by Andres Iniesta, whom Rooney says, is the best player in the world. Iniesta has always been the threat up front, and he can absolutely fire a goal anytime. Fernando Torres, another world-class player, is coming off from injury. He had not shown much though, but given the right moment, he can fire plenty of shots.

Come Sunday (Monday dawn Philippine time), Spain will face the Netherlands, another team hungry for the title. I don't know what Paul, the octopus seance, will say about Spain's chances. This 2010 could be La Furia Roca's time.

But sorry, I'll be rooting for the team in Orange.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Thoughts on the World Cup 2010 Semis

The FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa, which opened last June 11, 2010, is now on its last stages of the tournament. Only 4 teams remain. Some teams had already left the tournament, including the favorites France, Italy, England, Brazil and Argentina.

Who would have thought that Italy and France, both football powerhouses in Europe and finalists in the 2006 edition, were eliminated in the first round? Their awful performance was jeered by fans, and they went home in humiliation. France had a star player sent home because of some verbal tussle with the coach. The other players went on strike. The Prime Minister wanted to intervene and demanded some explanation.

In Italy, it was just a shame for the defending champ. They don’t have the glitter and the legs to perform at the top level anymore.

So, how about England? They are very strong on paper. They have one of the best coaches in the world named Fabio Capello. But their stars brought no ammunition in the actual battle at the football field. Wayne Rooney, despite being dubbed as one of the best soccer players in the world, was a major disappointment. He even had some ugly confrontation with a few of the English fans. Lampard, Gerrard and Terry were no shows. Even against teams like USA and Algeria, they failed to win. Their early and embarrassing exit at the hands of a young German team was not a surprise anymore.

At the quarters, there were 4 teams from South Africa, 3 from Europe and one from Africa. Brazil, the current no. 1 team in the world and the favorite to win the Cup, was also favored to win against Netherlands. They looked lethal on paper and they easily beat their opponents. But even great teams crumble. After the unfortunate own goal from Felipe Melo, Brazil never recovered and lost 1-2 to the Oranges. The coach was immediately sacked. 4 years of preparation, and winning every game along the way, was all for naught because they failed to win the greatest prize of them all – the World Cup. That could have been their sixth. But they will have a chance against as they will host the 2014 edition in Sao Paulo.

Cry for Argentina this time. They were badly humiliated by the Germans, despite having one of the most solid and experienced squad in the tournament. 0-4 is such an embarrassing defeat that it need a National Day of mourning. I cried for Messi and for Diego. The latter will no longer have to run naked in Buenos Aires, as he promised if his team wins the Cup.

Who are the teams left? It is such an unlikely group. Netherlands, Uruguay, Germany and Spain remained standing after the other fell along the way. Spain is the next favorite to win, but their performance in South Africa is suspect. They lost their first game again Switzerland. No team that lost its first game ever won the Cup. Can they break that jinx? Germany, on the other hand, is riding high on its trashing of Argentina. The young Germans are lethal on the attack and yet solid on defense. Spain has to be lucky to win against the mighty Germans.

In the other semis match, it is Netherlands vs Uruguay. The South American came off with a controversial win against Ghana. The ‘hand of Suarez’ rescued them. And luck was not on the Africans side as they missed the ensuing penalty. Uruguay will be without their main striker. But Netherlands, the team that dismantled Brazil, has all the chances to win the Cup now. They’ve never won the tournament before, despite being in the finals twice. Maybe, this is their chance to surpass the greatness of Johan Cruyff’s team of ’74.

The semis matches are both good to watch. All four are known not to play boring football. Expect more goals. But I like to see a finals of Netherlands vs Germany. That would be a remake of their 1974 encounter.

See also - Netherlands vs Uruguay: World Cup 2010 Semis Preview and Results Prediction

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Watch Spain vs Portugal Live Stream Online for Free

I love to watch live online Spain vs Portugal tonight. The two will be battling for a place in the quarterfinals. It is a must see game for all football fans in the world. Big names such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Deco, Fernando Torres, David Villa and Iker Cassilas will be playing.

The game will start at 230pm ET (12am HK time). I am sure a lot will be searching for a free live stream online of the Spain vs Portugal match for the 2010 world cup.

For those with cable TV in the Philippines, Sky Cable has its Balls Channel airing the games live. For those wanting to watch it live online, ESPN3 offers free live stream for US residents.

For those who are unwilling to pay, offers various channels. But most of time, the quality is so bad that you would just want to go the neighbors house and sneak in to their living room just to watch TV.

What to Expect?

History has not sided with both countries. Despite their greatness in Europe, not one of the two had made it to the Finals. Portugal placed third in 1966 and 4th in 2006, but Spain is unluckier as it had not reached the semis. The latter is even considered a football superpower, and ranked second to Brazil.

So today they'll make history. Head-to-head, Spain is ahead, even in the rankings. But player-wise, Cristiano Ronaldo is much a better footballer than any of the Spanish squad. Spain has Fernando Torres, David Villa, Cesc Fabregas, and Andres Iniesta. Explosive strikers they are. But in this tournament, only Villa made a significant contribution. Spain's fans should hope for better things to come around tonight. They need to claim their place in world cup history - not as an underachiever, but a true football superpower. Just as the papers said about them.

Spain or Portugal?

If you haven't had an opportunity to watch any of the two teams play, you ahould watch tonight. Spain vs Portugal, neighbors at war in South Africa. As for me, I am rooting for Portugal to win 1-0 vs Spain. Sorry La Liga fans! Anyway,you have Ronaldo in Madrid.

See also Spain vs Portugal: Preview and Results Prediction

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Thoughts on Overtime Work

When a staff worked hours beyond the normal office hours, he should received overtime pay, right?

Yes and no. Yes if he is required. No if he is plainly killing time at the office, and OT wasn't approved by the direct head.

When I was just a newbie at an audit firm, we were told not to overshoot the budgetted working hours for a particular client. If you worked in an audit firm, you'd know how it is during busy season. Work 16 to 20 hours, yet claim ony 3 hours overtime. Or to some extent, claim nothing at all. Martyrs, eh!

When I joined another company after audit life, I thought my job would be easier. It wasn't. In fact, I spent more hours at work as compared to my previous job at the audit firm. And so I made efforts to fix the system and hired competent people. After a few months, nobody from our group stayed beyond office hours. How's that for the manager?

When I arrived here in Manila, I also noticed that plenty of my staff were doing OT work. I asked them about their family life, and what they do other than work. I learned that they also longed to go home but because of the volume of their work, they have to stay and render overtime. It seemed that everybody were resigned to the idea that they have no option left but to render overtime. Their head, was also staying late. And this is what I noticed:

1. The manager gave the staff reason to work OT
2. Free meals with no limit
3. Late afternoon instructions, with the 'urgent' tag, when actually, it can be done the next day.
4. Lack of planning on the part of the supervisor and manager

Having started from the associate position, I know why I wanted to work OT. And these are some of the reasons:

1. OT pay is good.
2. There's no reason to hurry for home.
3. Free meals
4. It's traffic at 5pm. Leaving at 8pm or at a later time is much better.
5. There are those who gauge one's dedication by the number of hours spent at work
6. Your co-workers have become your friends
7. Work is fun.

From management's point of view, this I also learned from experience, that there must be something wrong with the department if people there put in lots of overtime hours. It could be a problem of efficiency and lack of proper planning. One has to change the mindset of the department head when it comes to overtime work.

From the top, we went to the middle. We had the supervisor check the job description of each associate and compare it with their actual work. How much time will the supervisor need if he's the one doing the associate's staff? Is he going to do it differently? These are some questions we asked. After a week, the supervisor reported that we need one more staff, then the others will no longer have to work OT.

Today, my department has lowest number of OT hours. And on most nights, I am the only one left from my department.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Thoughts on Fathers' Day

An hour had passed and today is no longer Fathers' Day in our part of the world. But I can't stop thinking as I saw posts and pics in Facebook about my friends' thoughts on Fathers' Day.

One posted a general greeting of 'lots of hugs to all Fathers out there'. From what I know about her family, her dad has a new family now, and it was her mom who solely raised her and her sister.

Another one had posted a pic of her and her father. Such a lovely scene, and some lines she posted that would make you green with envy. But a year ago, it wasn't the same. She told me she hates her dad for having vices and for not giving them enough attention. She even blamed him for what happened to his brother.

In another entry, a lady friend thanked her current partner for having changed for the better and for being a good father to her children. Knowing the guy, I hope he is for the long-term.

I would have wanted to post something on Facebook about my Dad but I restrained myself for reasons that I can't explain. So I just decided to post it here - my thoughts on my own Dad this Fathers' Day.

1. Dad loves my mom so much. I never heard them argue, whether in secret or in public. Dad always takes good care of my mom and he is always there for her. Dad never keep anything secret from mom.

2. Dad loves us his children very much. He provided for us, and he spends time with us, and he tells the world of how proud he is in whatever success that we had.

3. Dad has his faith grounded in God. Dad always reminded us of God's words and that we should live by it everyday in our lives. Here's Proverbs 3:1-4 "1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, 2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man."

4. Dad told us to live in peace with everyone. Even if we had uneasy and jealous neighbors, dad always treated them kindly and fairly. "This is how people will know that we are Christians", was how he told us.

5. Dad told us to be thankful and be content of what we have.

6. Dad told us to help those who are in need and not to expect something in return. Many times I witnessed the ungratefulness of some people he helped. But those situations didn't deter my dad from helping more people, even if he has no money left.

I thank the Lord for my Dad! I know it's not enough to remember him on Fathers' Day. Every day should be Fathers' Day.

Monday, May 31, 2010


My other site got suspended last week by its host because of the rushing traffic that it got from web searches. I was expecting traffic (and G-clicks) that day, but not the suspension. I only did simple SEO, hoping to get at most the no. 3 spot on page 1 of SERP. (The top two were occupied by my friends who worked hard for two months prior to the event.)

After only 3k pageviews within an hour, my host kicked me out. They said that I as causing disturbance in the shared server. And so for hours I waited and waited for the restoration of my site. Surely I missed the dollars that went along with the traffic. During that same event last year, I got around $70 in three days. No suspension, no problem. But this time around, I only got less than $15.

I just have to accept the fact the no blog in a shared-hosting environment will survive a rushing traffic. Even some friends of mine who had their blogs hosted by US companies, got their sites down. But not those hosted by Blogger.

So today, I took a look again at this traffic-less site. The PR 4 is still there. And I know the underlying power of PR4 site. 4 years in existence yet only under 25k of visits. What if I optimize this leftover blog and direct traffic here? Surely this won't go down even if with 10k visits in an hour.

What do you think?

Friday, May 21, 2010

PR4 Again?

I don't know if my eyes or the big G is playing prank on me. But I was surprised to receive an email this morning about a writing opportunity in which only blogs with PR3 and higher qualify.

And so I immediately checked this site, despite being in a half-sleep mode. I was still hugging my pillow and just turned to my right where my laptop was open overnight because of some browser game from Facebook. And to my surprise, the toolbar on top and the PR checker on the left indicate that I got my PR 4 back.

Now oh boy, oh boy! With my paypal empty, I am once again tempted to fill it with dollars. Now what? $20 per post like they used to? Or should I ask for more now that PR4 blogs are rare nowadays?

Nah nah nah. Maybe I will have to wait for a few days to see if this is real. Two events are forthcoming: The 2010 Champions league finals - Inter Milan vs Bayern Munich, and the May 2010 CPA board exams results. I have big interests in those two.

So those of you who got PR3 or 4 in the past but got penalized, maybe the lords of G issued some reprieve. Go check your own PRs.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Champions League Obsession

I've written a lot of post about football here in this blog. And plenty of those are about UEFA champion league matches. The 2010 season is about to end, and in a few hours from now, we will know who will face each other in the Finals.

Bayern Munich is already in. They are now waiting for the results of the other semifinals match. I am raring to watch Barcelona vs Inter Milan champions league match via free live streaming. I already know where to locate the free stuff. But quality-wise, you will certainly not enjoy it.

Last year, I saw the finals match between Manchester United and Barcelona when I sneaked in to the hotel room of a travelling work colleague. Since he was alone on a 2-bed room, I stayed there for a night just to watch the game.

But for this year, I still don't have a cable TV. I tried to scout for cheap cable companies offering Star Sports and ESPN. But so far, there's none in the place where I live. So I was will just watch the match online, and skip sleep once again. Ah, this is obsession!

Monday, April 26, 2010


Having nothing to do on a Saturday, except punching the keys of my laptop playing some FB apps, I found myself sleepy quarter before 6pm. I turned on the aircon and closed my tired eyes.

My cellphone rang at 11pm. Wifey called up. We had an hour chat (thanks to Sun Cellular), until she was sleepy on the other line. After the 'good night, sweet dreams', I stood up, relieved my kidneys of excess liquids, and went back to sleep. I thought of writing some blog entries but it was only in my dreams. The lights were on, and my laptop was still consuming electricity.

I woke up at 6am, but dozed off again for another three hours extension. All in all, I slept for 14 hours, excluding that hour on the phone. The last time I did this, only a couple of weeks ago, my head was so heavy that I had to take some paracetamol.

This isn't good I know. So today, I balanced it out. It's 5am Monday morning and I am still awake. Tsk tsk. I got to attend a meeting at 9am. I'm not on a night shift, you know.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pacquiao vs Clottey Live Online

What's with the title? Yesterday I went to SM Southmall to inquire of the Pacquiao vs Clottey ticket price. It's P550 says the lady at the counter. I immediately made a u-turn without saying a word.

The last time I watched Pacquiao on the big screen was during that battle against De La Hoya. That was an ugly sight. Oscar was no longer the pretty boy after the brutal nine rounds. But I thought the P900 I shelled out was already a fair price. Eat-all-you-can and drink-all-you-can in a 5-star hotel. Plus you get to enjoy cheering with the crowd everytime a fist goes into the face of the Pretty Boy.

But P550 in a cinema with nothing more? What if Pacquiao knocks out Clottey in round 1? Or in round 2 like he did on poor Ricky Hatton? Do you think P550 is worth it? If there's food, I'd probably stay around and fill myself to content.

So today I just sat on the side of my bed and opened my laptop looking for Pacquiao vs Clottey online video streaming. I found some channels on justin TV. I hope this 512kbps promised by Lola Techie holds up.

The results of this much anticipated fight will be known before lunch today. I predicted a 6-round TKO win for Pacquiao. My officemate says it will go past the six rounds. He agrees with Freddie Roach. If Clottey remains standing after six rounds, I will have to treat that officemate to lunch - two viands, drinks and unlimited rice.