Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Plugging - For our modern day heroes




From finding ways to achieve riches after years of working in a foreign land, to various options for remittance and related financial services, and among relevant features, MoneySense’s July-August 2008 issue is for you – our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

Gracing this issue’s cover is popular TV host and Optical Media Board chairperson Edu Manzano, who also shares he was once an OFW. With building and owning a home a big dream among OFWs and their family, the magazine also include features on the economics of building your own home, 10 ways to lower your home insurance costs, and best value condos to watch out for.

Pag-Ibig fund president and CEO Atty. Romero F.S. Quimbo also shares valuable tips on buying your dream home. Other features catering to OFWs include property payoffs, saving on food bills, getting out of debt, choosing an AUV, 10 boo-boos when buying a budget laptop, and flying with low air fares.

Currently available in over 200 outlets nationwide, MoneySense is founded by veteran business and finance journalists with a combined 50 years of publishing experience. To learn more about the MoneySense, visit www.moneysense.com.ph. For subscriptions, contact 339-3361, 728-1073 or email info@moneysense.com.ph.

Article - How to ask for a raise without quitting your job

How to ask for a raise without quitting your job
From content sharing of abs-cbnnews.com and MoneySense

By Lynda C. Corpuz


Jack Ramos, (not his real name), a creative director actually asked for a raise after he resigned. His boss tried to talk him out of it on his last day. But having made up his mind, he took a terminal leave and spent days searching for freelance jobs. Shortly, he got a handsome offer from an ad agency. Then his old boss called up. Jack informed his boss about the other job. The next day, they were already negotiating his return package. Now, he’s back, with a fatter paycheck and a promotion to boot.

Staging such resignation scene was quite dramatic, admits Jack, but it was a calculated risk. However, there is no need to go to that extent. There are easier ways to ask for a raise. Here’s how:

Timing is everything.
Do not shock your boss in the hallway or the water station with a request for a raise, so setting a meeting is important. Check also how the industry and the company are doing before negotiating. Definitely there is no discussion on salary raise if the firm is swimming in red ink.

Keep an open line.
Constant communication with your boss is important especially on compensation issues. Jack says, “I remember my boss telling me during the launch party, ‘Was it just the pay? Why didn’t you tell me?’ He’s right. I should have talked.”

Track your performance.
Arming yourself with documents detailing why you deserve a raise is a must. Listing down your achievements and how you are going the extra mile will definitely help. But be concise and make sure that your tone is humble.

Be concrete.
If your firm has the process for salary adjustments, abide by them. “You don’t have to bring the HRD manager to your talks with the boss, but telling him or her about your request might just speed it up,” Jack says. Once the boss agrees, bargain for a particular amount.

Be ready for rejection.
If you were rejected, despair not. Try to bargain for other non-monetary benefits such as telecommuting. But if you were turned down because of your performance, get advice on how you can improve, so the next time you request for a raise, hopefully, you will get it.


This article is from is MoneySense, the country's first and only personal finance magazine. You can read more financial tips and stories at www.moneysense.com.ph.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Article - Think ‘convenience’ with travel insurance

From content sharing of inquirer.net and MoneySense

By Lynda C. Corpuz
MoneySense
First Posted 12:07:00 07/10/2008

Why take travel insurance if your life insurance policy already provides coverage in case of death? That’s a valid question. However, there are other benefits you might miss if you decide not to get one. Here are a few things to consider:

Look beyond life insurance. Travel insurance is designed to protect you from things that can spoil your trip: sickness, losing your baggage and belongings, a cancelled or delayed flight, getting sued overseas, or – the worst spoiler of all – death. So cover those things that would result in extreme financial or psychological loss.
However, there are some stuff that you can leave out. For example, if you have home insurance that covers for valuables such as jewelry and gadgets that you plan to bring, you may exclude this from the travel insurance package.
Optimize your coverage. Many are unsure how to go through acquiring travel insurance, while some see it as an undue cost on top of the expenses they’re shedding for their travel.
Given the potential value, the premium you would pay could be of good value. For instance, a standard coverage with medical expander offered by Global Insure starts at a P250 premium for up to a four-day coverage; and an insured-only plan offered by HSBC to its members starts at P299.
Check for exclusions. Just like any other insurance, travel insurance is also subject to exclusions, such as claims arising from pre-existing medical conditions or when participating in risky life-threatening activities. Inform your insurer if you have such conditions or concerns. Travel to obtain medical treatment or when it is against a doctor's recommendation; war or warlike risks; and committing unlawful or criminal acts are also considered major exclusions.
Tailor-suit your coverage. Know what kind of policy you’ll need. Healthcare is expensive in the US, so if you’re flying there, pick a policy that has unlimited medical coverage. Personal liability is also important in the event you accidentally injure someone while you’re vacationing. Repatriation can be very expensive, so make sure also that your medical coverage includes repatriation.
Make the most of your peso. Look for an affordable yet comprehensive travel insurance. You can usually buy from your travel agent or directly from an insurance agency. Availing of multi-trip policies may be more affordable, especially if you travel overseas several times a year.
(This article is from MoneySense, the country’s first and only personal finance magazine. Visit http://www.moneysense.com.ph/ for more.)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The first night - When I Met Robin

It was a year ago that we came across each other's profile on a site (that I had no idea it was a dating site! Thought it was just like the "harmless" Friendster, lol).

I say there was something in him that caught my attention - maybe it was his snobbie look in this photo?

The photo that made me fall for Robin :P - in his apartment in Italy, 2007

More than his being snobbie-looking here, hands down, his green eyes, his chiseled nose, his shapely lips, I instantly got attracted to him, he has this charm that I couldn't resist right then and there, and I thought, maybe it would be worth a try to try have him as an online friend?

In Singapore where he was working then, he was also checking my profile (since the site alerts instantly who among the members are visiting your profile). He dropped a line to me (as there was a chat component in that site) - if I remember right, following "hi" he asked me if I'm really a writer - and I said yes, and off we went to chat for that early morning of July 12, 2007.

He also remarked I look attractive (in a cute way) in my profile photo, look young for my age (I was 26 here? When this photo was taken by my friend Lyn, when we were cam-whoring at McCafe in Greenbelt 1, across AIM). And he said also I'm kind-looking. Well, you be the judge :P



After that chat online via that site, we moved to chat via MSN, and a brief attempt to speak via Skype (since the laptop I'm using just went off - can't take video, phone calls here, argh), I signed out and the following day, I saw his e-mail:


From: robin
Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2007 5:24:43 PM
To: lynda

Dear Lynda,

I very much enjoyed our conversation over the net last night and am very
much looking forward to another opportunity to speak with you soon. Even
though i did indeed have panda eyes first thing this morning, of which my
dark ray-bans could hardly conceal. But like i say it's a small price to pay
for the privilege to have spoken half the night with you.

I'm at work at the moment and will be staying on board all night as the crew
has shore leave and i'm keeping watch, till we meet again, adieu ma petite.

Regards, Robin



And to my surprise, I found myself replying to his e-mail, saying:

Sorry about the panda eyes
From: lynda
Sent: Friday, 13 July 2007 12:53:03 AM
To: robin

Dear Robin,

Thank you for your e-mail.

And sorry about the panda eyes :-) Me too, I was too sleepy from writing, transcribing, and chatting with you, but it's all right - I got myself a new online friend. Thank you for your time.

Yeah, until our next chat.

Take care.

Lynda



From then on, we continued to chat, about a lot of topics - well, like any other, our conversation get quite heated when it comes to religion (me being a Roman Catholic, him being non-religious - I remember that was the main thing we talked about over the phone on the third night we were chatting). Yes, to my shock again, I gave him my phone number at this early (so I thought) And after I had to leave him online, the next day, I found his e-mail:

going to bed‏
From: robin
Sent: Saturday, July 14, 2007 2:50:11 AM
To: lynda

Dear Lynda,

Sorry that you had to rush off to bed so early as it's only 2:45 in the
morning, however there were a few things that were left unsaid between us,
firstly good night secondly that you and i should be bound in an everlasting
relationship that won't fail through thick and thin. Too heavy? You're
absolutely right, but that's what i'm looking for in a relationship and i'd
like to think that you were to. I think about you lots and look very much
forward to talking to you.... Tomorrow

Your Capt. Robin.



And I was quite shock with what he wrote - but dismissed it as his being well, quite intoxicated that night, haha, drinking Chardonay at that - as politely as I could, I replied to him:

RE: going to bed‏
From: lynda
Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2007 12:39:20 AM
To: robin

Robin,

As i was telling you over the phone earlier, and with the messages i left you via skype and MSN, i needed to go to sleep - had work as early as 7:30am....

yes, what you said was too heavy - everybody wants an everlasting relationship (or what you're referring to is a romantic, sexual, relationship?) - but i don't think that's what i'm after now (a commitment, that is - i'm kind of afraid, and unprepared for that - if my guess about what you're asking is right)....

and i already like being long-distant friend with you, and get to know you better also, but it seems, i somewhat impressed you that much :-) which is "weird" - i'm not assuming, but try also to look elsewhere, maybe closer to you, to find what you "really" wanted....

until next chat with you.

lynda

p.s. i had not only panda eyes (like i just finished crying - since i slept barely 3 hours) but my head is splitting with ache too (until now) :-( i hope you're fine, and not having what i had the whole day :-)



And he got my reply, but had no Internet that time, so he sent me a SMS, saying:

Hi, Lynda, saw your e-mail this morning and saw what I’d written to you. I had been drinking Chardonay when I was talking to you. So I do hope I didn’t put you off too much. I’m at sea at the moment and Internet won’t work. I’ll write a more sensible e-mail next time. Take care, Robin. (04:08:49pm/15-07-2007)

Of course, we didn't end there - and I can't believe it has been a year already! We're maybe separated by distance, but I am just blessed that our hearts are very much united in loving each other.

We left that site close to a week since we started communicating - yes, that was instrumental for us getting together. I am just happy that I tried it, and shun my worries about befriending people online, and much more, meeting on a dating site! I am just blessed also that I met a nice man online in the person of Robin (I also made friends to some members from the site, prior to meeting Robin, but I lost contact with them already - well, I hope, like me, they found the love they deserve). The same goes for Robin, who tried that site, Friendster, et.al. upon the recommendation of his first mate then, hahaha (thanks to you, Mel!)

I was only reminded of our anniversary yesterday when I checked my phone calendar when I woke up today - I was busy with work yesterday, and when we were chatting after he beat me again in MSN Solitaire Showdown, he noticed how tired-looking I was, and sent me to bed already to get some rest (think he saw me falling asleep while chatting with him, hahaha). Sorry!

We're still relying on the Internet and mobile phone for our communication, to keep in touch, to be together - but we're heading toward there, to a life of togetherness.

There goes our love story - it is so great to find the one who will love you and whom you will love as well. And I hope all, like me and Robin, are basking in this gift called love.

To Robin, happy anniversary - I will always love you very much, mahal!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

You're blessed, I'm blessed, we're all blessed

...for starting my day late, but ended as a productive one - sign I'll have a busy, work mode week - meaning, I'm blessed to have these jobs I have now, and that opportunities continue to come my way, despite my being shell-shocked at times

...that I'm able to write, that I'm able to come up with readable and helpful stories, that I get to satisfy my clients' requirements, and that I can go an extra mile - I would not have the opportunities I have now if not for this gift that is writing (and editing on the side)

...for giving me a patient and an understanding boss - who despite the times I wasn't able to meet my deadliest deadlines, continue to believe in me and in what I can do - and I will be humble and accept my faith in case he no longer sees we can continue working together, for the times I let him down on the account of not beating my deadlines - (not being proud, but I try to do good in other areas of my work, especially if it's crunch time, so as to honor his belief in me that I'm the right person for the post). I'm summoning all my will power and strength and courage to see him this week and update him on what's happening with my eh, melodramatic life, and discuss with him what I still hope to achieve working with him. Boss, I'm very sorry though if you've grown lots of gray hair since you hired me - peace!

...that I have my family - even if at times we clash - but no matter what happens, I know I only have my family more than anything - thanks for the trying times, for the good ones, and for the challenges and changes that lie ahead - I am, and continue to improve as a person because of my mother, and my brothers, and yes, my late father.

...for blessing me with this gift that is love - I'm just blessed my soon-to-be husband took that weekend off to see me in person (when I was readying myself that he would be disappointed in actually meeting me then) - that we enjoyed that weekend as if it was not our first time to be together; that was followed by visits here, meeting my family, telling my mother our plans, having time to chat with my mother, bearing with my brothers being quite snob (well, he says my brothers got that being snob from me, duh, hahaha), for socializing and chatting until the wee hours of the morning with my friends for life; that he introduced me to his best mates, who have been with him since the trying times of his life...

...being separated geographically is not easy - there were times we had our misunderstanding, miscommunication, mainly because of this being apart. But we're persevering, we're understanding one another, we’re keeping our communication lines open – above all, despite the distance, we’re continuing to be each other’s strength and we’re giving each other the love we both deserve. Thank you, Robin, for coming into my life, and looking forward to spend the rest of your life with me. Thanks for truly loving me, and I’m blessed for loving you as well.

There are so many things I am thankful for – I sometimes feel I can’t cope with the challenges, but, really, I’m blessed to have this life. Despite all the challenges we deal with, we're all blessed to live.

Friday, July 04, 2008

"Grandma, that's not a candy..."

"...that's a condom."

Yes - that was what I told a grandma when she bought at Watsons in SM Fairview earlier the orange colored (and flavored) FRENZY condoms' pack for her grandchildren (I think those were her grandchildren, as they called her "mama," but she's quite old to be their mother, anyway).

What was going on?
As I was paying for the stuff I bought, I noticed the boy of about 7 to 8-years-old checking all those condoms displayed at those two, three-story racks facing the counter for Watsons pharmacy products. Not only condoms were displayed there, there were also lubricant tubes, pregnancy test kits - another mini-rack was also sitting at that glass counter, with various condom and lubricant brands.

I just thought at first the boy was one of those restless kids tagged along at the malls and tinker at every item they could get their hands on - but what made me disturbed was when his sister, who looks older than him, and was a bit taller too, also tinkered at those condoms' packs, and the two of them got fond of that orange Frenzy condoms' pack. The boy egged his grandma (who was behind me and was to pay for a mat of tablets [her maintenance medication I assumed] to buy it for him - then I heard the grandma asked the girl, "Ikaw, gusto mo rin `yan? (You want that also?)" And the girl, with her big eyes, nodded. Obviously, with the seemingly absent-minded look in her eyes, the grandma had no idea she was buying condom for her, as I assumed, grade school grand kids.

Then the grandma saw the senior citizens' line was vacant. They went there, and the kids gingerly waited for their "candy" to be paid and have a piece of it. I was still in the claim counter, when a pharmacist attended to the grandma, punched the item, mentioned something to the grandma, but I was quite afar to overhear what she said.

They bought it
Then the pharmacist bought the tray of Grandma's items to the main counter, that pharmacist chatted with the other pharmacists (I was thinking it was about the condoms' pack the grandma bought for her grandchildren). I got my stuff but I still hanged around, just behind the grandma and kids who were about to get their bag of items. I saw the pharmacist put the mat of tablets and the FRENZY condoms' pack inside the bag, and off they were leaving Watsons, with the boy, asking for the "candy." I followed them and the kids tore open the FRENZY pack, split the individual packs among them, and seemingly counting how many each of them should be getting.

This was where I couldn't take it anymore - the grandma was walking ahead while her grand kids were busy with the "candy," when I said to the grandma, "Excuse me po, excuse me po." (She faced me, still with the absent-minded look in her eyes, and the kids who were trailing behind us stopped). "Ah, binilhan po ninyo sila ng condom? (Did you buy condom for them?)" I was wearing a very embarrassed smile here I think, and she replied, "ano? (What?)" "Ah, hindi po kasi candy `yang nakuha ninyo, condom po `yan. I mean, hindi pa po para sa kanila `yan ("Ah, it wasn't candy you bought, it was a condom, I mean, it's not for them yet.")

The grandma fumbling, said, "akala ko candy, sabi kasi niya candy (I thought it was a candy, he said it was a candy)." (And she hit the boy's forehead, but it wasn't that hard as what I saw.) The girl, still wearing the big eyed expression, was just looking at me. The grandma gathered the condoms, and said, "Ano gagawin ko rito ngayon?" "Puwede ko ba ibalik ito?" (What would I do with these? Could I return this?) I suggested here she try, I told her, just tell the pharmacist you didn't know it was a condom, and smiled (embarrassingly and apologetically I think) to the grandma. Then I turned around, still wearing the embarrassed smile on my face.

Who's responsible?
I don't know anymore what happened to the grandma and the kids - if they were able to return the opened pack of condoms mistaken as a candy. I was still thinking about them when I went inside the department store. Less 10 minutes, I stepped out and went back to Watsons to check if they were there - I didn't find them there.

I would not have been bothered that much if say, if those were high school kids getting or buying that pack of condoms - I mean, they're a bunch of curious kids and supposedly, during their age is when sex education is being taught to them already (but it was earlier this year that the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines called for scrapping sex education in the high school curriculum? I don't know the update on this, anyway).

But what I found disturbing at the mall earlier, that the grandma didn't know she was getting condoms for her grand kids, and obviously, didn't bother to look what it was about....I'm also disappointed with the pharmacist, and Watsons for that matter, for sealing that sale to a grandma and grand kids - if that pharmacist chatted with her co-workers about that, and wondered why the grandma was buying that, and the kids seemed to be waiting for that, still she did not tell them what it was about....

Who's responsible? Or should any be responsible for such kind of incident? What kind of measure should stores be applying in selling such items like condoms? I mean, they're sure for sale, and be accessible as part of safe sex teaching, but at least stores like Watsons should also take time to inform and towhom to sell a product like that. Not being moralist here or what, but if you were in my shoes, will you also tell the grandma, "that's not a candy for your grand kids - that's a condom."

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Etcetera 1

Thanks to you all! First of all, thank you very much to those who greeted Robin on his birthday - he got surprised with all the greetings you sent him, and joked the whole Philippines got to know his birthday!!! That made that day bearable for us....

When the clock hit midnight of June 11, we were already chatting then via MSN, my brother Linard dropped a greeting to him, and I turned off the light here in my room, and lighted a blue candle and sang happy birthday to him! I asked him to make a wish, and when he said he already did, I also wished for him, and blew the candle on his behalf. Rachiel, my college buddy and a Dubai beauty now, also greeted him again that night....Robin said I was doing everything to remind him he got a year older again.

But he already mentioned his plans for his 2009 birthday - we will have a quiet day and go out to a nice restaurant for dinner - just the two of us, enjoying each other's company. Hope that will happen for us.

Feeling low and troubled. Yes. Got so many things in my head now, as how Louie, another friend, read my tone one time I got to chat with him online....

I am trying my best and hardest to clear myself of worries I have now, but yes, it will take one thing at a time, and what I am accomplishing now, is what else but work and sidelines? Obvious reason - I need money, decent earning, to partially, if not, fully solve some of my worries at the moment (actually all of my worries I think - well, I guess the same goes for some, if not most people, anyway)

I've got a "mini life."
In between struggles in writing, I get to squeeze some time building my homes - well, in MyMiniLife that is. Got hooked into it when my Robin and friend Lyn invited me to add this as app in Friendster. So far, I built three homes already, and the first home I built got nice comments. Every time Robin asks how my day was, there's always a mention of MyMiniLife - I think he's a bit scary at the thought that I will transform the pink homes of mine into reality, and have pink as motif for our love nest in the future, hehehe)

Robin has an account to, but all you can see there is grass, grass, and grass....sheesh.... Just dropping lines here, I'm babbling, anyway.