Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Article - Ready to jump into freelancing?

From content sharing of inquirer.net and MoneySense


Ready to jump into freelancing?

By Lynda C. Corpuz
MoneySense
Last updated 09:36am (Mla time) 08/27/2007

After a decade of solid, corporate public relations experience, Gwendolyn Cariño, 35, decided to be a freelance publicist and corporate counsel. “I wanted to continue my PR practice and, at the same time, be a hands-on mother to my now seven-year-old daughter, Sabine,” she says.

In many cases, working from home can be a far more rewarding experience than working in an office. For instance, Gwen, who charges either on a retainer or per project basis, earns twice or thrice more than what she was getting from doing corporate PR work. She shares her advice in setting up and operating a business from home:

Set up your home office. After registering as a single proprietor, Gwen spent about P20,000 to convert a small area in their house as her office. She already had an office table and personal computer but she purchased a fax machine, a CD burner, office supplies, and a small air-conditioner. She subscribed to an Internet service provider and set aside a separate budget for electricity.

Outsource non-crucial tasks. Gwen does practically everything and only gets additional manpower when she needs help in writing. For logistics, a regular messenger distributes press releases, publications, and documents to clients.

Set a strict schedule for work. Gwen usually works from seven in the morning until noon when Sabine is in school and from 3 to 6 p.m. when her daughter is done with her homework and has taken a nap. She schedules a day or two per week for meetings or press lunches.

‘Fess up. You have to be professional at all times when dealing with customers. But there may be some people who consider someone working from home as less than professional. So it might be a good idea to make that clear from the start and get the issue out of the way. One time, when Gwen was talking to a client on the phone, her daughter picked up the extension and said, “Mommy, can you wash me please after I make poo-poo?” “My client laughed! But then, I was not ashamed of it since they knew my set-up from the very start and they still opted to work with me,” Gwen shares.

Strike the right balance. Working from home gives you an excellent opportunity to achieve work-life balance. But don’t let “life” outweigh “work.” Gwen’s family understands her work and respects the time she has to give it. “In the same manner, I also respect their presence and their time. I work as if in the office, within office hours, and give them the attention they need when they are home,” she says.

(From the March-April 2007 issue of MoneySense, the country’s first and only personal finance magazine. Visit www.moneysense.com.ph for more.)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Escape to Tioman


As promised, R (my mahal), sent me photo (which he took) of Tioman, a resort island at the east coast of Malaysia, and was the site of the Broadway musical turned movie in 1958, South Pacific (though in the film, Tioman was named as Bali Ha'i).

While we're being hit by typhoons the last two weeks, Tioman (at neighboring Malaysia) looked so serene, as what mahal said, Tioman's hot but beautiful, a good place for honeymoon (ehem, ehem, ehem).

I was a bit worried though when my mahal told me they had a trip, since I'm thinking that it's typhoon season already in some parts of Asia (and across the globe as well), making waters rough, but good thing, they (bosses, guests, crew, and captain R) arrived there safely and came back with no incidence.

Just looking at the photo, the blue, calm sea makes me want to leave now and escape to Tioman - well, obviously, I can't do that now....

Now, I'll just look at the photo every time I feel I'm drowning here....

But for those who can escape right away, following are more information about Tioman (though check always for updates):

From Wikitravel
Tioman is also known as Pulau Tioman
From Asia Travel

R, mahal, thanks for the pic.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Rain, rain come here



The satellite image (as of 8pm tonight) above is from PAGASA, and just heard from the newsflash minutes ago, the rain today (which caused flood and heavy traffic in some parts of Metro Manila) will continue until Sunday.

Thinking about the rain
We all have our different thoughts when it comes to rain.

The last time I shared thoughts about it was with Carly and Jayme. It started to rain the moment we left Kris's and Ipe's place (when other friends played Monopoly Philippine edition - it was the day that their little Joey was baptized). As we went to Gateway mall, it started to rain - hard. And we exchanged thoughts about it - if I remember right, we all agreed that we dread the rain at times, but rain is OK as long as we're with our families (not worrying about a family member who might get stranded because of the rain), staying in the house, having comfort food (champorado, tinola, or any food fit for the weather), or curl up and read a really good book (plus hot choco or aroma-filled coffee).

And just checked my blog friends' latest posts, and I found that Julls and Shevs also just posted about the weather we're having now.

Breaking the spell
I thought then, when I was with Carly and Jayme, that was the official entry of the rainy season - I even blogged about it (but it was about my crying relating with raining, anyway).

But turned out it was not. Only two, three weeks ago that I learned - and most people as I imagined - that we're having a dry spell. Maybe we got stuck in the election and post-election events last summer that we - even the media - didn't really pick up right away about this weather condition we're experiencing.

The government is pushing for cloud seeding - which is helping to ease the dry spell. The so-called ridge that's blocking the southwesterly monsoon (that's bringing the rain) has been temporarily lifted that's why typhoon Chedeng made it's way here (and if I heard right, there's also a low-pressure area active now).

And thanks to prayers. The Archdiocese of Manila issued the Oratio Imperata to ask for rain. So far, we're getting the rain and this shows that really, formula prayer or not, as long as you're sincere about it, prayer does work.

Inviting rain
The dry spell's still on - passing a House bill to replace all yellow lights with white ones (among energy conservation tips), water rationing (if the dams don't get back to their normal levels), among other measures, are being pushed once this abnormal weather persists for the month. If we don't get enough rain, if I remember right from the news, the weather bureau here will officially declare a drought season by September. Hope not - never mind if I hate getting my umbrella wet (yeah, I hate it getting wet), many people here who subsist in farming, need all the rain they can get.

And we might get the reverse of El Niño - La Niña (heavy rains) toward the end of the year. This is another wake-up call how we've been neglectful of our environment: Other parts of the world (parts of England just experienced its worst floods in 60 years; Taiwan is bracing or braces for a tropical storm; South Asia flood victims now desperate for food, water) are also experiencing adverse weather conditions. Hope all things will be normal soon.

Going back, remember how we kids chanted "rain, rain, go away, come again another day..." and even drew smiling suns (yeah, lots of suns) on our neighborhood streets, so that we could all play.

Our elders offer eggs to St. Claire to ask for a sunny day on an important occasion (or as I just read, soon-to-weds offer eggs to the saint so it will not rain on their altar date). To date, we're praying for the reverse.

Now, I can't curl up and read a book on this rainy Tuesday night (I still have to finish Hillary Clinton's Living History - been reading this since March! Not that Sen. Clinton's a boring writer [although she's not brilliant exactly] but I-can't-just-sit-down-and-finish-this!). I have to spend the night (until early morning) working - writing that is.

And I'm also missing someone (he knows that, I think. But I understand :->). And it's not a rainy Monday (pardon to Rainy Days and Mondays by The Carpenters), but I now feel "hangin' around, nothing to do but frown, rainy days and Mondays always get me down." Bugger.

Even if this "down" feeling's nagging me now (argh), I'll not chant like I was a kid for the rain to go away. But let's just hope, more rain will come (and hopefully, not to cause any adverse effect at that).

Sunday, August 05, 2007

No matter the distance

I thought the first few months of the year that I was in-love (like I used to in the past).

Yeah, I even blogged about it - I enjoyed the feeling, I cried about it, and even thought I - we - could work it out - despite circumstances.

I tried - we tried - but I just fell out of it - I say this because it's me who just walked away (the nerve, yeah). Like a smack in the head, it just hit me that what I was pursuing was not worth it.

Thought I'll give my heart a rest - but then, I'm into it again. And, like a mentor I know - and a lot of people out there - I found myself finding a romantic interest - of all places - in an online dating site (yeah, the more "dating" version of our good old Friendster). Yes, there are wackos who would visit your profile, and when they see you're online, they would chat with you - first it was OK, of general interest, sensible conversations - but some progressed to nasty things (well, nasty for me, at least), so at that point, I say adieu.

Then I met this special one.

I'm of legal age and sane mind and knows what am I doing - and so is he - he knows what he wants and must do in this stage of his life. But it's noteworthy to mention that we're of different age, background, culture, interest, nationality, and yeah, among other things.

I also told him, I have reservations about this online dating and relationship - he has reservations about the long-distance relationship (LDR) itself.

But so far, it's going OK for us. Of course, we're working for an actual meeting - and again, the reservations (on my part, that is) comes in: what if he will get disenchanted when he sees me in person? That we will not really like how we exactly laugh, look, talk, smell - everything. That what we thought the reasons why we fell in love (yeah, that whirlwind! whew!) at the course of this LDR are just good only at yeah, long-distance.

But I'm getting ahead. What I know - and we both know - is that we want to make this work. A friend dear to me commented she feels "positive" about my relationship now (unlike my "misadventures" in the past). I also feel the same - I feel positive about this - even if this is LDR. And like some relationships I know that started online, I'm hoping for a good result for this.

And I find the following that might be worth remembering (on my part, at least) so to bridge the distance. And maybe these "tips" (for starters, at least) will come handy to those, or by chance, gets into LDR:

Communicate - and avail all means possible. So far, we never run out of things to discuss (even the Marcoses!). And when it comes to us, we share things that we want to do someday, or have in the near future. We get to know each other's frustrations - and mood swings (on my end, I just had one yesterday, one that he couldn't fathom until I explained, anyway). Through this, we get to know what we both like and dislike, and that, I'm learning a lot through this communication we have (like some vessel stuff :->).

Most of our communication is via online (where we started - and continuing). When there's time (and top up card at that, haha) he will call (then we stop to chat online) for more conversation (and go back online when credit runs out, haha).

Just this week, I finally gave in (kidding, mahal) and bought a web cam (I had him at disadvantage the first weeks since he would oblige to be seen while I had no web cam - I only sent him pictures daily that I took via my phone - and mostly the setting is at the loos! Just to shy to cam whore anywhere.) This added visual put a more human dimension to our communication - as we get to see what each other's doing while chatting (and how we mirror each other through some mannerisms!), how we're reacting to each other, or when we need to leave a bit (him to get either wine or coffee in a cup [with emphasis on "cup"] and I get my coffee in a glass! Yes, in a glass!) If we don't see each other online, we leave each other e-mail or we send SMS.

Good thing we're both of the same time line - no need to worry about time difference or any delay (well, if our ISPs don't work well, or that our phone service providers mess up, that's a different case).

With this constant communication, I think I'm becoming more of a good, genuine listener and a conversationalist (not just on auto-pilot, as I sometimes become as a struggling journalist here). And that I hope we keep this open communication as we go along.

Commit - demonstrate that you both want this to work. The level of commitment varies for both couples. It's a risky venture to get into a LDR - like in a business, you don't know that you might be investing big time in what you thought a handsome proposition but later would turn out to be a scam.

As for me, I know to myself that I'm faithful when I'm in a relationship. And for his end, he never fails to end the day to tell - and to let me feel - he's serious about our relationship - and to say that he "loves me" among other cutesy, mushy stuff (as for the details, the lovey-dovey is just between us, OK? But I tell you, he's mushier than I!)

So far, by being "committed" to each other, we tell - and in our means - show to each other (and trust that we're not both talking to the wind) that we both want this to work. By demonstrating commitment, we find time to still chat after a long day's work (for him most especially, since I have quite a flexible work time), catch up, converse more and all (that's why he always tells me he no longer is able to do something about his "panda eyes" because I'm always keeping him up late! Ha!)

Be both independent - and dependent. This relationship we have - should not be in anyway a threat to our respective social lives (since we already have those before we met). Sometimes, we take time to tell each other what we're doing - and that we're both looking forward to "see" each other at the end of the day. This, I think is a good (and a bit mushy start) that you know you're both into this relationship - despite what we're being busy with, among other activities we have.

It's also OK to be dependent on each other. This is where the listening and conversing parts play a role, I think. There are things that you don't just tell to anyone else - even to your friends and family - and that you can tell to your special one. We've had this already, and I must say, on my end, I feel honored that he's trusting me that I can somewhat help him with whatever concern he has just by listening and conversing sensibly with him - and I think this goes vice-versa.

Combining both independence and dependence will allow each of you to grow and give room for changes - and maybe, once you know that you're both settled in this relationship - you can well discuss about how to cope with each other. As far as I am told and what I read, one of you has to give up something if you want to end up with each other. But, again, I'm getting ahead.

What's important now is get to know each other better, enjoy the feeling, and that, again, try to make this work - no matter the distance. And these, on my end, are what I'm determined to do.