Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ondoy’s Wrath: We Were Not Spared!

Ondoy  Wrath I was seating awed and worried at home in Malolos while watching the news on TV of storm Ondoy’s wrath as it ploughed thru Manila. It was a nightmare for a good part of Manila and suburbs residents especially in the eastern side of Manila where flood waters rose up to six (6) meters high. The storm dumped what could have been the highest in forty (40) years of rainfall history in the Philippines. It really brought havoc as villages were inundated, streets were made impassable, and watercraft sometimes rendered unusable due to the current. Hundreds of lives were lost, millions in damages were brought about by nature’s wrath.

Water was slowly inching as well in our village but it was not as bad as what we see on TV. We were used to this anyway having dealt with floods even in my younger years. I was worried though for my daughter. She works on graveyard shift in one of the Call Canters in Makati. She sent me a message thru SMS, at 8am, after she left the office, that she was ok and will likely be late for home after she had to see friends. It was her weekend off.

Wrong decision! Daichelle thought she could go thru the mess of traffic and deluge amidst the storm. Unfortunately again, her cell phone was now running out of battery. Last SMS I got was around 5pm and she was somewhere in Cubao, on her way to MRT, hoping she will not end up stranded. Well – she got stranded! The train was running but the train office was out of power – free fare for everyone. Luckily, she was with a friend who gave her shelter that night. She and her friend took a pedicab to a nearby safe area on their way to her friend’s house . I spent the whole nigh awake waiting for her.

At 8am the following day, she again sent me a message – thank God! She was okay. It was the only time I felt relieved and remembered I have yet to sleep. while that may not be anything compared to what others may have felt or had to deal with, it was nonetheless something to surely worry any parent.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Back From Hiatus

After three months of being so busy with the new venture, I am back from hiatus. Just two weeks ago, a group of friends started a new venture in providing Language Learning Systems to schools in the Philippines. That was nice since electronics have been a passion for some time. I was active in DIY’s before and an avid Ham Radio enthusiast for almost three decades now. Infotel Sistema, Inc.

languagelab This new venture was conceptualized after Bob, the owner of Manila Finest Health Club, and a very close friend, Atty. Celso came up with the idea of teaming up since the idea to provide these systems to schools will not only be rewarding but a novel service to the youth as well.

A series of meetings were held at Bob’s place. Brian, Bob’s son joined the discussions and put his inputs on the project. Brian is an IT specialist and his expertise will come in handy to enhance the blog and assist in the RND for the software being used in digital language learning systems.

Being back from hiatus is certainly very thrilling again.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Wish List : Places to go this summer

This is Batad Rice Terraces, a 5 hour trek from the town proper of Banaue where another rice terrace can also be seen. Banaue, however, may have been a victim of over-population as more houses can be seen erected on the rice terraces. Except for a few patches of houses, Batad is more pristine in a sense. Batad is the only amphitheater-style rice terrace in the region.

I went to Batad a few years ago and this photo was taken using my old 2MP digicam. I want to bring JM and Dai here. Another 2 hours of trek for the newbie brings the visitor to a scenic waterfall. The trek to Batad is not for the newbie. You have to travel light and bring plenty of water. The slope will sometimes be a steep 60 degree-staircase type trail.

Very scenic and awe-inspiring. Don't miss this in your lifetime...

This is Banaue Rice Terraces

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Will You Hate Me?

Right after Dai took her final examination for Physics, she sent me a text message. She was not confident that she will pass as this subject had been her waterloo ever since high school. She said "Dad will you hate me if I flunk the exam? As my punishment, it is OK if I will not go on-line for a month." I was touched by her message.

I read the SMS and reserved my reply for later. So when she went on-line after she arrived home, I told her that of course I will never hate her even of she flunks all her subjects. For me, it is important that she tries and keeps trying. It is just a matter of time and she would have had her diploma in psychology at the University of the Philippines. What she does is for her own future. She is aware of that, despite the difficulties she would have to hurdle.

Sometimes, and quite unknowingly, we put pressure on our children's education. I have tried very much not to but sometimes this would show despite our efforts not to make them feel that way. I have always been open in my management of their studies. I leave them be responsible enough for their own education. To wit, before an exam day, I would not even ask them to review. I simply ask them if they feel they are ready for the exam and confident that they can pass it. I just let them do as they please - computer games, surfing, or watching TV. That should relax them before an exam.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Fighting over PC use

Now that it is vacation. I would not be surprised that JM and Dai will fight over PC use. At the moment we only have 2 PC's operational, my desktop and laptop. So when I am using the laptop for blogging and some work, that leaves the 2 to fight over the last PC

The other desktop has yet to be repaired. Two capacitors on the video card are have bloated thus the PC will not show any video even of the video card has been tested to be OK.

Dai's laptop also failed a last month so she is left to fight for the other PC. Next week, I would have repaired the other desktop for her graphics work.

It's official : Summer vacation is here

Yesterday Dai had her final exams for Chemistry. JM had a get together swim with classmates in a nearby resort. Officially, that ends my allowance-giving days. Of course, vacation may mean shelling out more. I am not so sure now if vacation really means some respite over allowance giving (LOL).

Dai is now busy over what she loves most - developing her graphic skills and using them for websites and forum sites. JM is busy with an online game - Grand Chase.

I am trying to entice them to come up with their own blogs - a way to develop their writing skills. I wish we all have at least half my dad's talent in writing. Maybe someday I will be in the listing of the Library of Congress too.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Simple Joys

When we started our restaurant business a year ago, I had very little time to do my usual tinkering in the house, something I enjoyed during spare time and weekends. Two of my desktops broke down after a massive trojan attack brought about by ipod file transfers Dai got from her school. It amazes me that net shops and the school itself can miss out on protecting their network environment against virus attacks. This brought our home networks down and we simply relied on our laptops for our daily net and work activities via the wifi connection.

A month ago, my cousin and I decided to lease out the restaurant to friends following some substantial dip in sales - stop the bleeding!! We decided we would have to weather this recession out. Now, I have more time to do all the tinkering and clean up of my mess in the house (lol). So I started to work on my son's gaming desktop. After the massive Trojan attack, the network could not be accessed and we simply get all BFOD (blue face of death) messages - ha ha! Luckily the HDD did not fail, it just got corrupted so I had to start from dusting to installation of software, updates, etc... It took me one whole day to do the hardware and software repairs.

It took until the wee hours of the following day to get the PC up, set up in JM's desk, his favorite game all set to go. Of course I had to install as well software for Dai, as she could use the desktop in her spare time to do graphics and movie editing. I installed a few software I needed to work, whatever that may be.

I was so spent... JM, as expected, woke up early in the morning to check if all was OK. He was a bit excited as summer vacation is just around the corner so it was just right that his gaming PC was up else summer will be boring. Well he has to go through all the exams first but that is all okay. He has done well in school anyway.

Vacation also means I would not have to spend so much on allowances. What a respite...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Missing Out On Graduation : OFW Dad's Woe

Last Wednesday, my cute niece Jhamaica graduated from nursery school with second honors. We are so proud of our princess. Her mom, grandma and Ate Dai was there to celebrate the event. It was held at the provincial convention center with all the politicians doing their political show-your-face around before the coming elections. Their speeches lasted more than the actual graduation ceremonies.

While mom was there, and so was her grandma, it was a sad sorry miss for her dad, who must be so proud of his "unica-hija" princess, too. Bob is working as a chef in a luxury cruise ship based in Miami, Florida. They do the weekly Caribbean cruise. This, I could imagine, is a bit frustrating for Bob who I am sure would have gone home if it would have been okay or possible. He has to deal with the sorry miss as he has to make sure the future of his children will be secured. My sis Malynn fills in the gap for Bob - superwoman. She have been doing this for the past 8 years or so. This is the setback of being an overseas foreign worker (OFW). One misses out on special events like this. Yes we have digicams, video cams, YM, skype to get to each other no matter where we are but nothing feels like being there - feeling the moment of triumph.

Several years ago, I got a contract to work in Canada for two years. It was nearly just a formality to get the temporary working visa but at that time my daughter Dai was due to graduate in less than two years. I will surely miss that out too. I will not be able to go home for the next two years once I sign the contract, or it will be very expensive. That I could not take. Being separated - it would really be a sad, sorry miss. Bottom line, I did not sign the contract - I have no regrets. Nothing beats the feeling of telling your child how proud you are for her and thanking her for bearing with you.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Involving Your Children In Your Business

A year ago my cousin and I started a restobar business. In the early stages things were OK except I am losing time for my children. The work starts at 5:00pm and will last till about 2:00am the next day, sometimes even more. I do not even have the chance to see my children except when I report for work late. I would have to wait until both were back from school.

This is when I decided to take them to the business every weekend. My daughter works as cashier and finance officer handling the weekly payroll, while my son will handle the bar and food dispatch and inventory. Both of them will even wait at tables if we have plenty of guests or during special occasions and catering.

This opportunity gave us more topics to discuss on the way to and from the business to our house. I would share with them insights on the business and they would share their thoughts and ideas too. This was particularly true when the effects of the recession became evident in our daily sales. Each would have his or her own idea on how to pep up our sales. This gave them more sense of responsibility and ownership of the business.

Involving your children in your business is a way to test their knowledge, values, strengths and weaknesses. It gives them more confidence to handle various situations in life when prompted to make decisions. I have delegated to them tasks and decision making which I would normally be doing - alone. For me, this is my way to test and affirm how effective I am as a parent, coach, associate, business partner and manager. This is a way to make sure that whatever I do, they will always be with me and I shall always be there for them... it will not be forever but I will be more confident they will be ready for life ahead. Education, after all, does not equate to schools only.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bringing My Kid To School

This morning, my son's first class is at 8:00am. He studies at the nearby National Science High School. He is in second year. So we took off at 7:45am as the school is just a 5-minute drive using the motorbike. I use the bike more often now as gas prices are still considerably high even as crude prices in the world market have gone down over the last few months.

I noticed that that the motorbike sways a bit and tries to follow crevices in the road uncontrollably. So we pulled over and found out we got ourselves a flat tire. Off he went and just took the public transportation jeep, we were barely a little over a kilometer away from his school.

JM will normally take the jeepney ride to school but when my schedule permits, I enjoy the ride when I take him to school. Sooner or later, he would no longer appreciate these simple little things as he would have a "world of his own". For now, I shall enjoy this.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How Time Flies

It has been ten years now since my wife and I separated. Our children stay with me in my house and my ex-wife lives nearby. Our daughter is now 22 years and is graduating from a degree in psychology. My son is in science high school and is likewise doing well.

Yesterday, I passed by our old house and noticed that the six foot palm trees I planted just before we separated have grown to less than twenty feet. Funny how time flies...

This is just like our children, they have grown so fast and so well. Soon I shall be alone again as they have their own families and just like us, the circle of life will go on...