Sunday, February 26, 2012

Philippines: The real score

I have to go back to the Philippines.

This is the country that I am managing, I must see its progress, what it looks, smells, even tastes like. And I can tell you outright... right now, how it is, this first quarter of 2012. This is for those investors and foreign friends of mine, who want to come here and invest or tour, listen to me...

Traffic - traffic is still the same. Undisciplined drivers still traverse through the roads of the metropolis. Jeepneys and buses still swerve without care. Another thing is, Commonwealth Ave., dubbed as the 'killer hi-way' dropped its speed limit to 60 kph. I understand the concern but this goes to show that progress was being slowed down by the government. Just imagine the time and fuel you have saved going from point A to point B by driving faster. One good tip though, just avoid speeding when you see a pedestrian overpass. Chances are there is someone holding a radar gun. They are even proposing a 40 kph speed limit for buses. Damn. These ideas come from people who are sitting their asses in their air conditioned SUV's. In this area, a total fail.

MRT has improved a little. They provide more coaches to those stops with more commuters.Now, you do not have to argue and punch someone while boarding the MRT during rush hour. Another thing In have noticed is, people do not fall in line.

Taxis are good, but still scary. Be careful on those taxis who have fast meters or taking long routes. Old taxis have poor air conditioning and unsanitary, so go for new ones.

Over all, if you are not in a hurry, or don't mind about the heat and humidity, commuting in the Philippines is quite good.

Commerce - Wow, business is booming. I have seen more shops now than ever before. Something is going on, I mean, the Philippines is booming right now. But wait, some shops were closed. Especially the ones that you have been buying on since you were a child growing here. That is normal right? But very few have businesses have stood the test of time.

Government Transactions - Yes, it has improved due to technology and contractualization of workers. Still, some bad seeds remain. These corrupt government officials are the ones who keep your documents pending, and they are asking for some, you know, 'grease money' for its release. I have a friend who is a businessman who is so afraid to put up a sign on his business. Why? Because employees from the BIR and other employees of the Local Government keep coming for some 'alms.' And if you did not give anything, they will not clear you off if you filed for engineering permits, sanitary permits, clearances, or anything that they could think of. Better watch out still if you want to do business here.

Power & Water - Water quality is still not good so buy mineral water if you can. Reserve a good clean water in a large drum. There are times water is not continuously available.

As for power, still not a good sign. Electricity rates are coinciding with the price increase of petroleum products. That is because the Philippines is still using old school turbines powered by coal or diesel. Few powerplants are run by water (hydro electric) or geothermal. So, whenever we see that electric bill, we just brush it aside and pay for it. I just wish power rates will go down so that more investors come pouring in.

People - People in the Philippines are courteous and known for their hospitality. But sad to say, times have changed. Due to media, internet, and bad surroundings, they are not as friendly as they are these days. Just go to the mall, and everyone seems to want you to buy something. That fake smile is totally annoying. There are few people now who are honest and would not tell the truth, that is why I do not buy at malls anymore. And buy mostly my products like clothing, perfume, and other things on small shops, tiangges (flee markets) and some entrepreneurs online. They give reasonable prices on products which is more cheaper and last longer (these products came from abroad as well, just brought here by OFW's).

I can see the sense of happiness and contentment especially for young families. I have to admit, the best way to raise a child is in the Philippines. Good values are taught, and ability to take care of their own well being. Lots of love in here.

Money and Banking - If you have seen the new Philippine money, it is nice due to the bold colors. But be careful on the P 200 and P 500 bill, as they almost have the same color, or maybe I am just getting old.

I can tell you outright that banking in the Philippines is a hassle in one way or another. I have applied for a credit card in my main bank but due to large number of customers coming in, I was not entertained properly. So I applied for another less famous bank, in which I was entertained immediately. But be very careful with the bank you have chosen, there are banks that goes bankrupt here. Like the case of Banco Filipino. Banks here in the Philippines just close without warning. So be mindful if you want to deposit some money here. Another thing is, the interest rates are low, and service charges are high.

If a bank knows that you are a long time depositor or have been transacting with them with huge amounts of money, they can treat you like a king or queen. And sometimes, that goes beyond the head. A recent squabble about parking happened recently around China Bank at Timog Branch. The long time depositor and China Bank officials have been rudely cursing the people around them, too bad that some of them are from the Philippine media and they are on 'hot water' in which they are cursed on air in a morning radio show.

Security - Still bad. Enough said. So please, come here at your own risk. Just recently in the news (this was mentioned today only), one torso was found in a suburb here in Caloocan, Manila. There was no head, arms, and legs. Just the torso.

Media - Not good either. Just go for AM radio. Luckily we have cable tv, and I do love TLC, NGC, and Discovery Channels.

Overall Culprit - The Philippines still has a long way to go. If you want to have a good vacation, or if you have some family you will visit here, that is best.

UPDATE: 10 MAR 2012

Be careful with your money. There are times you have to bring lots of it. Why? Because some shops for credit cards are not existing / not working. Even in reputable shops in the malls. Really bad indeed. Why do you have to bring boatloads of money anyway? You are just inviting danger for yourselves.

Is it really fun in the Philippines nowadays? Maybe, just maybe. The fun could be an illusion. So please be sure  before you come here.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Being a positive thinker is a winner! Be successful by thinking positive.

I have been studying something and want to share it with you. It made me successful in a way that it bought some peace within me. Hope I can do the same to you.

I am successful right now, but before that I failed a lot of times.

And with my failures, I have studied failure in itself.

Broadly speaking, real failure is : 

  * Failing personally, not professionally.

 * Yielding to cowardice in the face of an urgent but risky situation, thereby promoting fear to a position of power.

  *  Protecting your pride from a possibly embarrassing professional failure rather than promoting a worthy cause.

This is real failure as a person.  But there’s good news.  If you are, or have ever been, a failure, it doesn’t have to be final!

After the sadness of failure, there can always be the joy of success.  

You can reverse your fortune and brighten your future by changing your thinking and welcoming success.

But first what is success?

Is it about solving problems and resolving difficulties? Yes.  But understand success is a journey, not a destination, an unending project never a single, simple accomplishment that stands alone unrelated to the past and disconnected from the future.  So you’ve solved one problem?  This success will spawn new problems!  You’ve resolved one difficulty?  This success will hatch a batch of new ones.  Also, success doesn’t just happen.  You have to plan and work hard to make it happen.  Success is becoming yourself at your very best.  It’s nothing to do with someone else, it’s to do with you.  How good are you compared to what you could be? 

That is success!!!

So, what is the magic ingredient that can eliminate failure and ensure success in our lives?

It is undoubtedly Positive Thinking.

However, attaining a positive image of ourselves is not easy because society generally does not pat us on the back for the good we may have done.  Instead our mistakes are highlighted and it is criticism that comes our way.

Also, where genuine compliments are concerned, we are our own worst enemies.  Praise embarrasses us and though we appreciate compliments, we hesitate, because we do not really know how to accept them.  That way we do not strengthen our healthy positive pride.

Therefore, to restructure a personality from negative to positive requires clearing the “construction site” of slum structures, the old negative attitudes, and laying new foundations that can support new skyscrapers.  How much baggage of negative attitudes toward ourselves have we been carrying along with us?  Let it go! Abandon these self-condemning and self-belittling opinions!

Fear of failure is a very intense motivational factor for avoiding goals. We would rather not try at all than try and fail. What will people think of us if we fail?  The opinions of others often hold us back from setting goals and trying to change. If we fail, people will think we're good for nothing. If we succeed, people may not like the way we've changed.

Who are those people anyway?

Let me ask you all a question……

How many of you would like to have a successful day?

Value your own intelligence and ability and your own instinctive and intuitive qualifications.  You will experience a profound inner awareness that you can start a change in your own life and in the world around you!

Of utmost importance is … confidence in yourself!

Have the belief and confidence in yourself as well as in your aim, your objective, your … Dream!

Don’t let the noise of others opinions drown out your own inner voice. Have the courage to listen to your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want.

Of course, a capacity for fear is part of our survival instinct. But fear not that you might fail. Fear rather that you might never succeed  if you do not dare to try.

Success is not an end in itself but a positioning in power for greater accomplishments and higher achievements.

Wonders are many, but none is more wonderful than man, and a truly great man never puts away the simplicity of a child. Everyone of us, whatever our age has a little of the child within us. Don’t kill the child, protect the child. It is the child that will protect you in the ups and downs of life. Look  at the funny side of any situation that is not going your way. Bring in a bit of humour. It will be like a breath of fresh air and will relax you and those around you. With renewed vigour and a positive frame of mind, completing your task will appear less difficult.

Our stations in life may be different, our positions in life may be different, but at our own level, we are all trying to survive in a very insecure world. What permanent guarantees do we have?
Do we have any?It is still a very insecure world, and we are all trying to survive in it. So, to combat this, the first step is positive thinking. With the right mindset and our sights clearly focused on our goals, we are on our way to achieving our objectives. 

Thanks for reading, to end this, I have put some of the best quotes I could find. Again, just think positive, everything will be alright.

The kids aren't alright

I have witnessed a surreal moment the ones featured in "Amazing Videos." The difference is, its live, and in front of our faces.

We have seen an actual police chase, and the vehicle being chased are trying to get away even though there are no more rubber on their tires. Police slammed their cars onto the vehicle to stop it from escaping further.

And the passenger came out, he is just a kid, around 14-15 years old. And the driver, is still hesitant to come out, looks like on the same age group.

Everyday we see kids doing these bad deeds. Is it the medias fault? Is it drugs? Why should they have to do this creating a lot of disturbance and causing inconvenience to other's lives and property?

In the early days of civilization, man has taught his children to prepare for their future. Feeding themselves by hunting and growing plants. The son hunts altogether with his father, and the daughters are with their moms taking care of their husbands and doing household work. All has been fine and easy in the early days.

Money and Technology changed that. And soon the roles of man has been ever complex and confusing. This leaves the children confused and idle, thereby letting them think of getting some attention for themselves. Like what I have seen yesterday.

There is no perfect environment for our children. This is the most scary part. How can we be assured of their success in the future?

I think, we must follow the footsteps of our ancestors. They have done the most basic thing to their offspring in order to be successful, by learning to survive at an early stage.

We cared for our children too much. We live in a system that complicates things for us.

Let us keep it simple. The important aspects of raising our offspring is through exploration, survival, and to prepare for the future and pass it on through the next generation.

If we do this, our kids will surely be alright.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Do we really know what 'WANT' is?

ShowMe, Missouri: "Do the people of North Korea want this "leader"?

Paulo, San Francisco: "Do they know what "want" is?"

What insightful comments! Do the people of the United want their "leaders"? Do WE know what "want" is?

Thanks for contributing to this wonderful exchanges of "ideas".

Comment by Jon Davis, taken from the article:

"To Sell a New Leader, North Korea Finds a Mirror Is Handy"


I was amused by the comment above while reading the NY Times on my tablet. I have been pondering about its deeper meaning ever since - and how it can guide me on managing the Philippines.

It is true. That Filipinos elect their leaders. It is democratic, free, a government chosen by the people. But how come we are not benefiting from it?

The Philippine economy is still in the doldrums. It will take a lot of time for it to grow. And investors are really not in the mood to invest in here. I tried my best, went around the world, but so far, none came. Especially right now in the news that two Dutch nationals were kidnapped. I am sure the foreign community is not having 'fun' when kidnappers are lurking around the Philippines.

We do not want this right? But there is another question...

Do we really know what 'want' is? Or more specifically,

Do we really know what we 'WANT'?

We can say prosperity, no crimes, good governance, but the problem is, we are not doing anything about it.

I am stuck here. The sentence is really ominous. I do not know what I want. What can I do to make the Philippines go on, be better than the rest?

My phone rang:

Me: Hello

Pnoy: Hi, nabasa mo ba ang news?

Me: Saan? About what? 

Pnoy: You know, about me and.... Grace.

Me: Mr. President, wala ako time diyan sa mga pa-epek mo. You know that I am busy trying to invite more investors to our country. 

Pnoy: Ah, I see. Sino sino na ba naimbitehan mo?

Me: Mga mining companies karamihan. Gusto sana nila dito eh kaso problema sa siguridad ang inaalala nila. 

Pnoy: Huwag na yan, sisirain lang nila ang kalikasan.

Me: We do not have a choice for now. Bababa ang GDP natin this 2012, alam mo naman na di na tayo pwede makabawi sa Agriculture at Manufacturing, gusto mo ba gatasan na naman ang mga OFW's natin?

Pnoy: I don't know...


Pnoy: Huh?

Me: (hang up).

No wonder Shalani broke up with him.